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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

Feb. 19, 2016

Annual jazz festival to feature Four Freshmen, 35 school groups

The Four Freshmen
The Four Freshmen

A popular vocal group whose jazz harmonies influenced a generation will cap the annual Northwest Jazz Festival Friday, Feb. 26, which features 35 high school and middle school jazz ensembles perform throughout the day on the Northwest Missouri State University campus.

The Four Freshmen will headline the jazz festival with their performance at 7:30 p.m. in the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts, in conjunction with Northwest’s Encore performance series.

Tickets are $25 to $20 for adults and $15 to $10 for children 12 and under; Northwest students are admitted for free and Northwest employees may purchase discounted tickets. Tickets may be purchased between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Student Services Center on the first floor of the Administration Building, by calling 660.562.1212 or online at

The Four Freshmen were one of the top vocal groups of the 1950s, and formed the bridge between ’40s ensembles like Mel-Tones and harmony-based rock ‘n’ roll bands such as the Beach Boys. Their repertoire centered on standards such as “Moonglow” and “The Christmas Song,” with an unusually free, improvisational approach to their harmony singing.

New lineups of the group have continued to perform into the 21st century as an artistically valid ensemble. In 2000, Down Beat magazine readers voted The Four Freshmen as Vocal Group of the Year. The Four Freshmen remain the acclaimed masters of harmony, presenting their unique brand of vocal pop harmony and headlining concerts throughout the globe. For more information, visit

The school performances are free and begin at 9 a.m. in the Charles Johnson Theater, the J.W. Jones Student Union Ballroom and the Student Union Boardroom.

The Four Freshmen also will lead a master class at noon in the Ron Houston Center, and an awards concert, featuring the Northwest Jazz Ensemble is at 5 p.m. in the Charles Johnson Theater.

“We are very excited to host this annual event, which brings approximately 500 high school and middle school students to our campus,” Northwest Professor of Music Dr. Bill Richardson said. “This is the largest number of participating jazz ensembles in over 20 years for the Northwest, so we are bursting at the seams in a good way. Many thanks to our Northwest music students who help make this event run smoothly.”

Throughout the afternoon, the festival will feature performances by large jazz ensembles and jazz combos in 25-minute time slots. Each jazz ensemble performs for three adjudicators who provide comments and assign ratings in addition to working with each group on stage after their performance. The festival is sanctioned by the state high school activities associations of Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. 

A complete schedule of school performances, including locations and times in parentheses, is provided below. For more information, contact Richardson at or 660.562.1316.

Charles Johnson Theater Student Union Ballroom Student Union Boardroom
Central Jazz Ensemble (9 a.m.) Maryville Jazz Band (9 a.m.) South Harrison Combo 1 (9 a.m.)
Liberty Jazz Ensemble (9:30 a.m.) Cameron 7:02 Jazz Band (9:30 a.m.) South Harrison Combo 2 (9:25 a.m.)
Odessa Band of Distinction Jazz Ensemble (10 a.m.) Clarinda Middle School Jazz Band (10 a.m.) South Harrison Combo 3 (9:50 a.m.)
Park Hill Jazz Band (10:30 a.m.) Maryville Middle School Jazz Band (10:30 a.m.) Wellington-Napoleon Jazz Band (10:15 a.m.)
Liberty North Screaming Eagles Jazz Band (11 a.m.) Raytown Central Middle School Jazz Band (11 a.m.) Central Jazz Combo (10:45 a.m.)
Platte County Jazz Ensemble (1:30 p.m.) Martin City Middle School Jazz Ensemble (1:30 p.m.) Liberty Jazz Combo (11:10 a.m.)
Lee's Summit North Jazz Band (2 p.m.) St. John's Ravenscout Grade 7 Jazz Band (2 p.m.) Auburn High School Jazz Ensemble (1:30 p.m.)
Blue Springs South Jaguar Jazz Ensemble (2:30 p.m.) Ray-Pec East 7th & 8th Grade Jazz Band (2:30 p.m.) South Harrison Big Band (2 p.m.)
Raytown South Jazz 1 (3 p.m.) Grandview Middle School Jazz Ensemble (3 p.m.) South Harrison Combo 4. (Jr. High) (2:30 p.m.)
Grandview Jazz Orchestra (3:30 p.m.) St. John's Ravenscout Grade 8 Jazz Band (3:30 p.m.) South Harrison Combo 5 (Jr. High) (2:55 p.m.)
Grandview Jazz Ensemble (4 p.m.) Raytown South Middle School Jazz Band (4 p.m.) Mid-Buchanan Jazz I (3:25 p.m.)
Raytown South Jazz 2 (4:30 p.m.) South Harrison Jr. High Big Band (4:30 p.m.)

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468