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Illinois State University Jazz Festival, April 12, 13

Composer Chuck Owen

Composer Chuck Owen and saxophonist Jack Wilkins will be featured artists at the 2019 Illinois State University Jazz Festival, Friday and Saturday, April 12 and 13. Both days of the festival will feature free morning and afternoon performances by junior high and high school jazz bands from across Illinois. All performances will take place in the Center for the Performing Arts Concert Hall.

Chuck Owen and Jack Wilkins will perform with both ISU Jazz Ensembles I and II on Friday and Saturday. The group will play at 8 p.m. Friday and will feature special guests Kevin Hart on the vibraphone, Erik Swanson on guitar, Paul Nolen on saxophone, and Dale Rideout on trumpet. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at the Center for the Performing Arts Box Office, or by phone at (309) 438-2535.

Saxophonist Jack Wilkins

Throughout the day, all junior high and high school performances will be open to the public for free. There will be awards given out for first, second, and third place across eight different categories, as well as an individual soloist award and one grand champion award across all categories.

The Friday evening concert will include an opening performance by Illinois State’s Jazz Ensemble II, while the Saturday evening show will feature an opening performance by the grand champion in the festival’s band competition. Jazz Ensembles I and II are conducted by Tom Marko, director of jazz studies in Illinois State’s School of Music.

Owen, a well-respected jazz educator for over 35 years, has been nominated for numerous Grammy awards. Owen is committed, passionate, and creative with his compositions. He has served as a conductor, primary composer, and producer for his six CDs. Wilkins is a professional saxophonist and director of the jazz studies program at the University of South Florida. He has produced five CDs, and his compositions feature a unique story and truly original music. Wilkins is also a Yamaha Instrument Company clinician and is a long-time member of the faculty of the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops.