A commemorative concert celebrating 50 years of jazz at Millikin University will take place on Saturday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m. in Westminster Presbyterian Church located at 1360 W. Main St. in Decatur, Ill., next to campus. The event is open to the public and the cost to attend is $10, payable at the door.
The concert will feature OneVoice, the flagship ensemble of Millikin's vocal jazz program, and Millikin's acclaimed Jazz Band I, which will premiere a specially commissioned work by noted jazz composer Bill Holman. As part of the celebration, the concert will feature performances by both an alumni jazz band and alumni vocal ensemble.
OneVoice is under the direction of Steven Widenhofer, director of the School of Music, and Jazz Band I is led by Randall Reyman, professor of music. Both groups have regularly been cited as "outstanding" at the Elmhurst Jazz Festival. The Millikin Jazz Band has also been invited to perform at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival and IMEA state convention on several occasions, and performed in January at the Jazz Education Network (JEN) national conference in Atlanta. OneVoice has previously performed at the national American Choral Directors Association conference, the International Association for Jazz Education national convention and at the JEN conference.
Millikin's jazz program held its first concert on March 8, 1963 to a sold-out audience after months of preparation by a small group of students and music professor Paul Skinner. Their quest to add jazz to the Millikin curriculum was sparked by a performance of the Stan Kenton Band at MU's 1961 homecoming.
In addition to the concert, a full day of activities is also planned for alumni who have participated in the jazz program during the past 50 years. For more information on the alumni reunion activities, call Millikin's alumni and development office at 217.424.6383.