Doors Open at 1 PM in the Gallery/Bistro (Enter off Sgt Pendleton Way)
A Post-Function with the Musicians is scheduled for immediately after the show
It’s a Holiday Matinee for families and students of all ages to hear the great Tchaikovsky “Nutcracker Suite” as transformed in 1960 by Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn into an American jazz masterpiece. And performed by one of the best college jazz bands in the country: the Central Washington University Jazz Band under the direction of Chris Bruya.
A modern classic, The Jazz Nutcracker is filled with energy, intelligence, swing and all the innovation and improvisation of the jazz age. Each of its songs take off from one of the beloved originals from Tchaikovsky’s beloved Holiday Classic, and while the source is recognizable, each is transformed and magnified into a snappy, humorous, high-energy platform for musical fun and improvisation.
How did this piece of music come about? A composition that started to bring Billy Strayhorn, Ellington’s long time compositional partner, into focus? Read the interesting backstory HERE
More about the CWU Jazz Band
The Central Washington Jazz Band has, under the baton of Chris Bruya, become one of the best jazz bands in the country. They have played at the Monterrey Jazz Festival and won awards at most of the major competitions in which they have participated. It’s an ideal time for local high school and middle school musicians and their families to meet the next generation of great players from Central Washington.
Jazz Band I is the premiere jazz ensemble at CWU, this group focuses on performance of literature written for the big band from the 1940’s to the present, with emphasis on the great arrangers and writers such as Bill Holman, Frank Foster, John Clayton, Thad Jones, Don Sebesky, Bob Florence, Mike Crotty, Oliver Nelson, Maria Schneider, Jim McNeely, Bob Mintzer, Sammy Nestico, and others.
Performance standards are high, and as a consequence, entrance to the band is very competitive. There are frequently a few graduate students and many upper classmen throughout the group. Creativity, interpretation and intense musical experience are the hallmarks of this fine ensemble.
A Rich History
Did you know that many prominent jazz musicians and educators had their start at Central? This is all part of a rich legacy that stretches back to 1947 and the Sweecians dance band, directed by Bert Christiansen and later Bob “Beep” Panerio and John Moawad, the creation of the vocal jazz ensemble by John Moawad in the 70s and high expectations along the way. Here is a sampling of just a few of them: Gary Hobbs, Jon Wikan, Norm Wallen, Greg Metcalf, Kelly Kunz, Dave Barduhn, Frank Dimiero, Bruce Babad, Reuel Lubag, Michelle Wier, Jim Sisko, Garey Williams, Paul Gabrielson, Jay Roulston, Jake Bergevin & Paul Harshman.
The Board of Jazz In The Valley has established a monetary scholarship for the benefit of graduating high school student and transfer students wishing to pursue music studies at Central Washington University, with an emphasis in jazz performance and study. for more info http://www.jazzinthevalley.com/Scholarship.html