Azusa Pacific University’s Jazz Ensemble will take the stage at the 49th annual Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey, California, April 5-7, 2019, joining top university jazz groups from across the nation. One of only six universities selected for this highly competitive showcase, APU’s performance will mark its ninth appearance at the festival, where it has secured top three placement, four times.
“APU’s selection in this festival for a number of years and our continued placement in this national-level platform is a testimony to the strong music preparation and artistry found in the School of Music and the College of the Arts as a whole,” said Stephen Johnson, dean of the College of the Arts.
Each year, the Monterey Jazz Festival invites the top student musicians from across the country and around the world to participate in the Next Generation Jazz Festival. The festival welcomes performances by middle, high school and collegiate groups of every kind: big bands, combos, vocal ensembles, vocal soloists, as well as conglomerate bands.
“The Next Generation Jazz Festival has become a very elite competition among jazz musicians,” said David Beatty, director of the Jazz Ensemble and chair of the Commercial Music Department. It also serves as a recruiting tool for the program. “We’ve had a number of talented high school jazz students decide to attend APU after seeing us perform at the festival.”
Many students in the Jazz Ensemble already play professionally part-time and plan to seek careers in the music business after graduation, while others have their sights set on becoming music educators. Taking advantage of the proximity of Los Angeles, the group often performs commissioned works by some of the best known composers in Hollywood, and can frequently be found in the studio, recording for some of those same composers. According to Beatty, the jazz students spend many hours practicing each day. “They work very hard to hone their craft in order to perform at such a high level. This festival provides public evidence of their dedication,” he said.
The School of Music at Azusa Pacific University is housed in the College of the Arts. This innovative arts community, grounded in the Christian faith, is dedicated to preparing students to excel on the world stage as exceptional music professionals. As one of the largest schools of music in Christian higher education in the United States, APU’s School of Music has 11 different undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs covering commercial music, music entrepreneurship, performance, music education and music and worship.
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