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- Anthropology Department to reopen historic Mississippian digsite in Cape Girardeau County (9/14/21)
- Zoey Beasley’s kills give SEMO early success (9/14/21)
- Southeast art faculty and students collaborate on Shipyard Music Festival project (9/13/21)
Cultural Arts Center erupts with the sounds of Clark Terry/ Phi Mu Alpha Jazz Festival
The River Campus’ Cultural Arts Center erupted with the sound of the 20th annual Clark Terry/Phi Mu Alpha Jazz Festival on Feb. 2-3.
High-school jazz bands from across the state competed during throughout the weekend in Bedell Performance Hall, while professional trombonist Andre Hayward taught improvisation clinics for college students.
Hayward told students that jazz improvisation is about making a mess, and having the ability to clean it up. By taking an analytical approach in the practice room, he said you can always keep improving and will never grow tired of practicing.
“The goal is to build the facility and reflexes, to develop freedom on the bandstand,” Hayward said.
Sophomore Kyle Shewcraft said he has been playing trombone for nine years, but had never heard the sounds and concepts Hayward introduced.
“It opened my eyes to some new ideas and explained the theory behind them,” Shewcraft said.
Southeast’s Studio Jazz Band, conducted by Joseph Jefferson, the director of jazz studies, played alongside Hayward for two daytime performances and a Gala Concert Friday night. Their rendition of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” and Hayward’s original composition “Dre’s Blues” were among the most notable tracks, Jefferson said.
Senior Jacob Fisher, president of Phi Mu Alpha, said members of the men’s music fraternity were assigned to the “leg-work” of running the festival so Jefferson and the other educators could focus on the music.
“We just want to help advance music as much as we can,” Fisher said.
The Friday night gala concert brought a packed audience of jazz enthusiasts to Bedell for a performance that highlighted the abilities of Southeast students and guest professionals. Trombones, the primary instrument of Hayward and Jefferson, were featured in an ensemble delivery of the 1930 jazz standard “Sunny Side of the Street,” made famous by Louis Armstrong.
The festival’s namesake, Clark Terry, was a legendary jazz trumpeter and ambassador of the genre who died in 2015. He spent much of his time bringing music education to Southeast and other universities, for the type of clinic-sessions and collaborative performances that now define the festival.
Hayward said festivals like the Annual Terry Clark/ Phi Mu Alpha represent an opportunity for students to network and learn from other musicians. Even if they do not plan to make it a profession, music will stimulate any of their life’s endeavors.
“God has given each of you something special,” Hayward said to students during the jazz clinic. “It’s up to each of you to develop yourself on that instrument.”