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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

Feb. 19, 2017

Jazz festival to feature 43 school groups, Count Basie Orchestra

Northwest Missouri State University will host jazz performers from 43 middle schools and high schools during its annual Northwest Jazz Festival Friday, Feb. 24, in addition to performances by the Northwest Jazz Ensemble and the famed Count Basie Orchestra.

The school performances begin at 9:15 a.m. in the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts, Charles Johnson Theater, the J.W. Jones Student Union Ballroom and the Student Union’s Tower View room. All of those performances are free and open to the public.  

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.

Northwest Professor of Music Dr. Bill Richardson, who organizes the annual festival, said this year’s is believed to be the largest in its history. The participants represent schools from Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska.

“We are very excited to host this annual event,” Richardson said. “The Northwest Jazz Festival has grown into a premier jazz education activity for middle school and high school students.”

The Northwest Jazz Ensemble, conducted by Richardson, performs at noon in the Ron Houston Center, and admission is free.

At 5 p.m. Scott Barnhart, the director of the Count Basie Orchestra and an internationally acclaimed jazz trumpeter, will lead a master class in conjunction with a trophy presentation in the Ron Houston Center.

The Count Basie Orchestra performs at 7:30 p.m. in the Ron Houston Center and will appear at Northwest as part of the University’s Encore performance series. Tickets are free for Northwest students, and discounted tickets are available to Northwest employees for $27. Tickets are available to the public at costs of $32 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under.

Tickets may be purchased between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday in the cashiering office on the first floor of the Administration Building, by calling 660.562.1212 or online at

The 18-member Count Basie Orchestra has won every respected jazz poll in the world at least once and 18 Grammy Awards. It has performed for kings, queens and other world royalty, and appeared in movies, television shows, and at every major jazz festival and major concert hall in the world.

Encore is presented in collaboration with Northwest’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts, the Office of Student Involvement and the Student Activities Council. Northwest sponsors the Encore performance series in partnership with the Missouri Humanities Council and with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“We are delighted to feature the Count Basie Orchestra under the direction of Scotty Barnhart as our guest artists, and we are especially thankful to the Northwest Encore series, Kori Hoffmann and Matt Baker in the Office of Student Involvement, grant writer extraordinaire Tye Parsons, and the Missouri Arts Council for their support of the Northwest Jazz Festival,” Richardson said.

For more information, contact Richardson at or 660.562.1316.

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