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The Northwest Jazz Ensemble performed March 6 at the KU Jazz Festival and received recognition as "Outstanding University Jazz Ensemble." (Submitted photo)

The Northwest Jazz Ensemble performed March 6 at the KU Jazz Festival and received recognition as "Outstanding University Jazz Ensemble." (Submitted photo)

April 7, 2020

Jazz Ensemble earns recognition, visits high schools during spring tour


The Northwest Missouri State University Jazz Ensemble took its show on the road March 5-6 and completed the spring tour by earning the title of “Outstanding University Jazz Ensemble” at the University of Kansas Jazz Festival

In addition to the ensemble award, trombonist Coby Brogan, drummer David Curtis and alto saxophonist Nick Foster received Outstanding Soloist certificates at the jazz festival.

“We really came together as a group,” Dr. William Richardson said, the director of the Jazz Ensemble and Northwest’s Dennis C. Dau Professor of Instrumental Music. “Musically, the ensemble sounded fantastic by the final performance at the KU Jazz Festival.” 

The Northwest Jazz Ensemble is the University’s premiere, audition-based jazz ensemble. It performs music representing a variety of styles and regularly tours the four-state region, in addition to on-campus performances throughout the academic year.

The ensemble’s performance at the KU Jazz Festival proved to be the last for senior members of the Jazz Ensemble as the COVID-19 pandemic prompted Northwest to cancel campus activities for the remainder of the spring and move all of its courses online. Those seniors also have been part of select performances at the 2019 Missouri Music Educators Association conference and the 2017 Nebraska Music Educators Association conference. 

Kim Shriver, a senior instrumental music education major from Omaha, Nebraska, said attending and performing at the KU Jazz festival was a highlight of the tour.

“Performing in it was so special to me because that concert, without knowing it, was my last ensemble performance I will ever be in,” she said. “Also, we were able to watch the KU jazz band perform with guest artists Bobby Watson, Mike Rodriguez and Helen Sung. It was one of the most exciting live performances I had heard in a long time.”

The tour also took the Jazz Ensemble to high schools in Smithville and Platte County, Missouri, as well as Eudora, Kansas. The members also attended a nighttime performance at the American Jazz Museum’s Blue Room Jazz Club in Kansas City, Missouri, which provided them an added opportunity to experience contemporary jazz.

“Our students did a spectacular job representing Northwest,” Richardson said. “We were fortunate to be healthy and enjoy time together performing and checking out some fantastic jazz musicians at the Blue Room in Kansas City and at the University of Kansas Jazz Festival.” 

Northwest’s College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Fine and Performing Arts, the Dennis C. Dau Endowed Professorship in Instrumental Music, and the Northwest Foundation provided support for the tour.


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704