Des Lee Big Band Jazz Festival to include area teens

The annual Des Lee Big Band Jazz Festival will feature a day of clinics and rehearsals with University of Missouri-St. Louis music faculty members and culminate with a performance of big band standards by three jazz ensembles. The concert will begin at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 12 in the E. Desmond and Mary Ann Lee Theater at UMSL’s Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center. The evening performance is free and open to the public.

Area middle and high school students will spend the day of the concert rehearsing with UMSL music faculty members Jim Widner, Gary Brandes and Robert Nordman, as well as Phil Dunlap of Jazz St. Louis.

The Ritenour Central Middle School Jazz Band, directed by Keith Moyer, and the St. Joseph of Cottleville Jazz Band, directed by Larry Johnson, will perform at the concert. In addition, the festival will feature a performance by an auditioned high school honors jazz ensemble directed by Jim Widner, coordinator of jazz studies at UMSL. Members of the Des Lee High School Honors Jazz Ensemble are from the following high schools: Central Visual and Performing Arts, Duchesne, Metro Academic and Classical, Hazelwood East, McCluer North, Ritenour and University City.

The concert will include performances of “Splanky” by Neal Hefti, “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” by Joe Zawinul, “Satin Doll” by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn and “Blue Monk” by Thelonious Monk.

The Touhill is on UMSL’s North Campus, One University Blvd. in St. Louis, Mo. 63121. The concert is sponsored by the Department of Music at UMSL and the Des Lee Fine Arts Collaborative. Visit or call 314-516-5980 for more information.


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