UMSL Jubilee Holiday Jazz Concert

The UMSL Jazz Ensemble was joined by Vocal Point and the University Orchestra for the Jazz for the Holidays concert Dec. 8 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. The concert will be broadcast on KTVI (Channel 2) at 3 p.m. Dec. 25 and on HEC-TV (Channel 989 on Charter and channel 99 on U-Verse) at 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Dec. 25. (Photo by August Jennewein)

The weather outside was frightful, but the music inside was delightful to the more than 1,200 who attended the Jazz for the Holidays concert Dec. 8 at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center.

The annual free jazz concert also served as the closing event for the University of Missouri–St. Louis Jubilee, the award-winning yearlong 50th anniversary celebration.

Sunday’s concert featured the UMSL Jazz Ensemble, directed by Jim Widner; Vocal Point, conducted by Jim Henry; and the University Orchestra, conducted by Robert Nordman.

“We try to have something for everyone,” Widner said. “It was an honor to be selected to be the bookend for the Jubilee celebration.”

The jazz ensemble started the afternoon performance with the traditional “Yo Tannenbaum” and included selections such as the “Carol of the Russian Children” by Vocal Point and “The Christmas Waltz” by the University Orchestra. The three groups joined together for a finale of “The Christmas Song,” “Christmas Time is Here” and “Jingle Bells.”

UMSL’s Jubilee was the yearlong celebration of the university’s 50 years in existence. A Jubilee Kickoff concert and Founders Dinner started the observance in February. Other events included the performance of a symphony commissioned for the celebration and the Jubilee Moonlight Ramble. “First, A Dream,” a commemorative book celebrating the achievement, is also available. The jazz concert was a fitting end to the yearlong celebration, said Ron Gossen, UMSL’s senior associate vice chancellor for marketing and communication.

“From motivational speeches, musical performances, commemorative books and a special Jubilee beer, to top flight academic conferences, a logo in glass, and on and on, the campus couldn’t have dreamed for a better anniversary year,” Gossen said. “It was a deserving recognition for a deserving institution and created jubilations to one and all involved.”

The concert was recorded and is scheduled for broadcast on KTVI (Channel 2) at 3 p.m. on Dec. 25 and on HEC-TV (Channel 989 on Charter and Channel 99 on U-Verse) at 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Dec. 25. A video will also be available at

Rachel Webb

Rachel Webb