Gustavus Jazz Jamboree Takes Center Stage

Posted on February 26th, 2018 by

Gustavus Adolphus College welcomes five specially selected high school jazz ensembles along with jazz performers the Adam Meckler Orchestra and Reggie Thomas to campus March 2 for the inaugural Gustavus Jazz Jamboree. Clinics, masterclasses, and the 7 p.m. featured evening performance are free and open to the public.

The event is the brainchild of Director of Jazz Studies Dave Stamps, whose focus is giving students a world-class jazz educational experience. “What we’re trying to do is to create more opportunities for jazz education in the state,” he says. “This is a non-competitive festival and the educational component has driven every decision we’ve made.”

Each band will perform and receive written feedback from professional jazz artists, participate in a 30 minute clinic with a jazz educator, learn from masterclasses, and attend an open rehearsal of a professional jazz ensemble. The day culminates in an evening performance featuring the Gustavus Jazz Ensemble, Reggie Thomas (piano), and the Adam Meckler Orchestra.

Bringing artists like Thomas and the Adam Meckler Orchestra to campus also gives the wider St. Peter/Mankato community a chance to see performances of jazz artists who do not typically perform in the area. Thomas has been described as “one of the most in demand pianists and educators in the country” and is the pianist for the legendary Count Basie Orchestra along with several other professional engagements around the country. He will be leading a masterclass as well as working with some of the jazz bands. The 18-piece Adam Meckler Orchestra performs regularly in the Minneapolis area and has held weekly residencies at The Artists’ Quarter and Jazz Central in addition to performances on the main stage at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival.

This event is the first of its kind at Gustavus and is an opportunity Stamps hopes to offer in the coming years. The full schedule of this year’s events is below.

2018 Jazz Jamboree Schedule
Friday, March 2

Main Stage
Jussi Björling Recital Hall

12 p.m. | Jazz 1 – Brady Krusemark, director – Mankato West High School

12:30 p.m. | Cleveland Jazz 1 – Erik Hermanson, director – Cleveland Public School

1:15 p.m. | Adolphus Jazz Ensemble – Dave Stamps, director – Gustavus Adolphus College

2 p.m. | Guest Artist Masterclass – Reggie Thomas, piano

3:15 p.m. | Jazz One – Adam Bestler, director – Chaska High School

3:45 p.m. | Jazz Ensemble 1 – Chris Fogderud, director – Brainerd High School

4:15 p.m. | NL-S Jazz Ensemble – Nicholas Mason, director – New London-Spicer High School

5:15 p.m. | Open Rehearsal/Soundcheck – Adam Meckler Orchestra

7 p.m. | Evening Concert featuring the Gustavus Jazz Ensemble with special guest pianist, Reggie Thomas and the Adam Meckler Orchestra

Masterclass Schedule
Gustavus Schaefer Fine Arts Music Building Room 103

12:15 – 1 p.m. | Jazz Listening Skills – Don Norton and Masa Ishikawa, Gustavus Faculty

2:45 – 3:30 p.m. | Improvisation – Don Norton, saxophone

3:45 – 4:30 p.m. | Rhythm Section Techniques – Masa Ishikawa, piano


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