The Whitworth Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Dan Keberle, has been selected to perform at the MENC: National Association for Music Education’s 2008 Washington Music Educators All State Conference on February 15 in Yakima. The conference is a biennial, four-day event that is attended by music teachers and choir and band directors from middle schools, high schools and colleges throughout Washington state.
The Whitworth ensemble was one of two college/university jazz groups in Washington selected through anonymous recorded auditions to perform at the conference. This is the eighth time in 15 years that the Whitworth Jazz Ensemble has been selected to perform at MENC state and northwest conferences.
"I'm very proud of the hard work of our jazz students," says Dan Keberle, professor of music and director of jazz studies at Whitworth. "The Whitworth jazz music faculty feel honored to have our work so positively reviewed over the past decade by music teachers and jazz professionals."
The 19-piece Whitworth Jazz Ensemble performs several concerts each year on campus, as well as at jazz festivals, in public schools, at civic events, and on annual tours throughout the United States. In January 2006 they traveled to Sao Paolo and Salvador, Brazil, for concerts at two music festivals. In 2004 they traveled to Rome, Italy, for several performances with leading Italian jazz artists, followed by a performance trip to Hawaii in March 2004. Other performance residencies in previous years have included trips to Havana, Cuba, two trips to Munich, four others to Rome, and nine performances in Australia, at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival and in the surrounding area. The group will return to Rome in January 2008
The Whitworth Jazz Ensemble has won first place five times since 1996 at the University of Idaho's annual Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. In recent years the group has performed in concert at Whitworth with guest artists including Bob Mintzer, Joe Lovano, Slide Hampton, Nicholas Payton, Kenny Garrett, Phil Woods and Gene Harris. The ensemble has also performed in international locations, including Brazil, Germany, Italy, Australia and Cuba. The Whitworth Jazz Ensemble has produced six CDs; the most recent is Apple Flambe, released in September 2007.