ABERDEEN, S.D. – The Northern State University Department of Fine Arts will present the 43rd annual South Dakota Jazz Festival on Thursday, Jan. 24.
This year, the festival is a clinic and performance-oriented event, whereas in past years it has been an adjudicated, contest-style event. Other than this format change, the festival will run as in past years, with the first band performing in the Johnson Fine Arts Center Theater starting at 8 a.m. and performances continuing until 5 p.m.
The following schools will participate: Holgate and Simmons middle schools and Central High School, Aberdeen; Brookings High School; Gettysburg High School; Groton Area High School; Jamestown, N.D., High School; Mitchell High School; and St. Thomas More High School in Rapid City.
This year is exciting because the newly remodeled Krikac Auditorium will be used for the very first time since the renovation began early last year. The vocal jazz groups and show choirs will perform there. NSU music education faculty and vocal jazz specialist Dr. Wendy van Gent will coordinate the groups and run the clinics in Krikac.
At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, the NSU Department of Fine Arts and the Aberdeen Community Concert Association will present the jazz festival feature concert. Tickets can be purchased at the door and at the ACCA office at 1312 Third Ave. S.E. in Aberdeen. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.aberdeencommunityconcerts.org
The concert will begin with performances by one outstanding vocal jazz group and outstanding school jazz ensemble, which will be announced at the end of the day’s performances. Then the NSU 2 O’Clock band takes the stage, directed by NSU’s Dr. Grant Manhart and featuring two guest artists: Dustin Retzlaff, most recently of Greely, Colo., string bass and electric bass artist; and Fred Hemke, NSU assistant professor of woodwinds, on saxophone.
Retzlaff is an active jazz performer, clinician, teacher, student, piano technician, director, arranger and Brazilian music fan. He has performed regionally and internationally with jazz groups, orchestras, steel drum ensembles, big bands, pit bands, festival groups and many others. Hemke is an assistant professor of music at Northern. Since his appointment in 2003, he has taught woodwind methods; orchestration and arranging; jazz history; jazz pedagogy; and applied lessons in the areas of saxophone, flute, oboe and bassoon. He has led saxophone quartets, a woodwind quintet, a flute ensemble, a saxophone jazz ensemble, the jazz ensemble, a Dixieland combo and a jazz combo. He was the director of the South Dakota Jazz Festival from 2003 to 2007.
“The concert will feature an instrument we have not featured in a long time, if ever,” says director Manhart. “The string bass is the harmonic, melodic and rhythmic heartbeat of any jazz group, and as such, is often overlooked as a center-stage instrument.”
Retzlaff will be featured on a slow blues, Stan Kenton’s “Intermission Riff”; Dizzy Gillespie’s “Con Alma” (translated: “with soul”); and Charlie Parker’s “Donna Lee,” where he will share the improvisational spotlight with Hemke. The concert may end with a Maynard Ferguson tune, “Three More Foxes,” featuring Manhart, Dennis McDermott, and senior NSU trumpeter Chris Massa.
Tickets will be available at the door. Cost is $7 for adults and $5 for seniors. There is no charge for NSU students or kids in high school and younger. Community Concert tickets will be honored.
NSU 2 O’Clock Jazz Ensemble personnel
Dr. Grant Manhart, director
Steven Zimoski, Mobridge
Katie Wegleitner, Lake City
John Patzlaff, Platte
Taylor Johnson, Aberdeen
Michelle Mennis, Wahpeton, N.D.
Callie Marlette, Gettysburg
Chris Massa, Rapid City
Amanda Wentz, Bismarck, N.D.
Calvin Cramer, Camp Crook
Alec Nelson, Jamestown, N.D.
Tyler Schwan, Minot, N.D.
Delayna LaBelle, Black Hawk
Luke Bergjord, Aberdeen
Joe Weseloh, Watertown
Johnathan Gorr, Rapid City
Jamie Kessler, Jamestown, N.D.
Russell Hadden, Sundance, Wyo.
Eli Corbett, Deadwood
Carrie Pospishil, Yankton