Prairie State College Presenting 26th Annual Jazz Fest on February 21

CHICAGO HEIGHTS—(ENEWSPF)—February 16, 2014. Some of the nation’s top jazz artists will perform at Prairie State College’s (PSC) 26th annual Jazz Fest at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 21, in the Conference Center Auditorium on the main campus, located at 202 S. Halsted St. in Chicago Heights.

Featured musicians include Chicago trumpeter Orbert Davis, drummer Ernie Adams, and bassist Larry Gray; New Orleans saxophonist Ed Petersen; and PSC’s professor of music Valerie Nicholson on piano. The Southland Jazz Ensemble, a professional big band, will join forces with the featured musicians during the second half of the program.

“The concert just gets bigger and better every year, and the musicians enjoy coming back each time to jam with each other,” said Nicholson, who also coordinates the festival.

Ticket prices are $15 for general admission. Students and senior citizens tickets are $10 each. Tickets are available in advance in the PSC Business Office Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tickets also can be purchased at the door on the evening of the concert.

The Friday performance is part of the annual two-day festival hosted by PSC, which also includes instrumental clinics led by the featured artists. The clinics are for local junior high and high school jazz musicians. It is an opportunity for students to receive instruction in technique and performance from the jazz masters.

The fifth annual Howard Luckey Excellence in Jazz Leadership Award also will be presented. The award goes to a community member who has provided extensive and consistent support of jazz through teaching, performing, or organizing in a spirit of humility and community. The award was established in memory of Howard Luckey, a PSC social science faculty member who passed away in 2010.

“Howard was a long time supporter of the Jazz Festival and music education,” said Nicholson. “He understood the importance of the arts in people’s lives and the impact they have on intellectual, creative, and emotional growth.”

This year’s recipient is PSC Adjunct Instructor Roland Rose, who was at the first PSC Jazz Fest and, for 15 years, brought the jazz band from Bloom High School, where he was band director.

“I felt that this festival was the best because of the clinician’s hands-on approach to jazz education,” he said.

Nicholson said Rose was selected in recognition of his 18 years of teaching at Bloom High School and 15 years at Eisenhower High School, noting that his jazz bands consistently received excellent and superior ratings at competitions.

Rose is a member of the PSC Wind Ensemble, South Suburban College Jazz Ensemble, South Suburban Concert Band, and the South Holland Concert Band. He is a composer and arranger of jazz and concert band music.  Rose also is an active music judge for Illinois High School Association Solo and Ensemble Contest. 

Those who attend the evening concert also can enjoy the Christopher Art Gallery exhibit, “Metaphorical,” featuring paintings, photographs, prints, and sculpture by artists Renee McGinnis, Ana Fernandez, Sophia Nahli Allison, Robert Magrisso, and Joanna Pinsky. The gallery will be open before the concert and through intermission.

For more information on the Jazz Festival, or to purchase tickets to the concert, call (708) 709-3500.