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Music students bring ten awards home

University of Calgary’s debut at Elmhurst Jazz Festival is a success

After last year's achievements at the Lional Hamption International Jazz Festival, Music Professor Jeremy Brown entered the University of Calgary Jazz Orchestra and Chamber Jazz Ensemble to compete in the 2014 Elmhurst Festival in Chicago.

"It is the second time in the history of the Jazz Orchestra that we have participated in a festival," says Brown. The Elmhurst Festival is the largest and most famous jazz festival for college bands in the United States. "We were brave to go there and we did really well."

The University of Calgary Jazz Orchestra and Chamber Jazz Ensemble were the only Canadian competitors in the Festival. "Our approach was very different from the American competitors," says Brown. "We played works by Benny Carter, an African-American composer. It's very light, very transparent music."

The performances by the Jazz Orchestra and Chamber Jazz Ensemble were well received. The audience was engaged and gave a standing ovation asking for more. Gary Smulyan, a renowned baritone saxophone player, loved the set and said it was 'a high note to end the day'.

Although the ensembles didn't win any group awards, the University of Calgary didn't come home empty-handed. A total of ten outstanding individual musician awards were given out to Tristan Campbell, Connor Chisholm, Jacob Fossum, Hannah MacGillivray and John Buck of the Chamber Jazz Ensemble and Jacob Fossum, Bobby Seenanden, Connor Chisholm, Tristan Campbell and Julian Pedersen of the Jazz Orchestra.

"I'm proud of what we've achieved," says Brown. "It truly was a positive experience for our students."

The 2014 Elmhurst Festival ran from Feb. 20 to 23 in Chicago, IL.