March 2, 2005
Whitworth Jazz Combo Wins First Place, Ensemble Takes Second
Whitworth's jazz combo and jazz ensemble, and a Whitworth student-musician won top awards at the 38th annual Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, held Feb. 23-26 at the University of Idaho. The Whitworth combo won first place and the jazz ensemble won second place in the college/university division of the competition.
The Whitworth Jazz Combo, composed of students Chris Parkin, Chris Teal and Erik Hjelt, all '05, Brendan O'Melveny, '06, and Liz Pempe, '07, competed against the top student-musicians in the region, according to Dan Keberle, director of the jazz ensemble and chair of the Whitworth Music Department.
"The most gratifying aspect of our jazz combo winning first-place this year is that the very best soloists and top rhythm sections from each school's band comprise the five-person combos, so this is quite a testimony to how diligently our students practice and to Whitworth's teaching methodology in jazz improvisation," Keberle says.
The 19-member Whitworth Jazz Ensemble has won first place in five of the competition's past nine years. This year, the Whitworth Jazz Ensemble won second place, behind first-place-winner University of Washington and ahead of ensembles from Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University, Boston College, Lewis & Clark State, Whitman College and Pierce College.
"I consider this year a building year in jazz at Whitworth because of the many freshmen and new students in the band. Nine of the 19 players in the jazz ensemble are new student-musicians," Keberle says. "Overall, from the ensemble and combo to each individual performer, our students played at their highest levels ever."
Chris Parkin, a senior music major, placed first in the alto-saxophone improvisation competition for the second year in a row. Parkin deserves high marks for his consistent practice habits and commitment to developing his talent during his three-and-a-half years at Whitworth, Keberle says.
The Whitworth Jazz Ensemble is one component of the jazz studies program at Whitworth College. The ensemble has performed on tour in Germany, Rome, Australia and Cuba, and was also selected to perform at five recent Music Educators All-State and All-Northwest conventions.
In recent years the group has performed in concert at Whitworth with guest artists including Bob Mintzer, Joe Lovano, Slide Hampton, Jimmy Heath, Nicholas Payton and Eric Reed.
Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,400 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.
Dan Keberle, director of the Whitworth Jazz Ensemble, Whitworth College, (509) 777- 4582 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or email@example.com.