Indiana State University Newsroom

University to host Jazz Festival Feb. 19

February 7, 2011

Smooth sounds of jazz will infuse the air at Tilson Auditorium on Feb. 19, as Indiana State University hosts its 38th annual Jazz Festival.

The day of jazz will consist of performances by 19 middle school and high school bands and jazz combos from Indiana and Illinois. All bands and combos of students will have the opportunity to perform and afterwards receive constructive criticism from the five selected judges. The students' concerts are open to the public.

The judges and guest artist will perform in a concert at noon, which is free and open to the public. The ISU Jazz Ensemble will perform at 7:30 p.m. in a free concert that is open to the public. Both concerts also will take place in Tilson Auditorium.

Professional jazz artist Derrick Gardner, a trumpeter from Chicago, will serve as one of the judges.

Gardner began playing trumpet at 9 years old and played throughout grade school. He attended both Hampton University in Virginia and Rutgers University. Gardner hit the jazz scene in New York in 1991, where he formed a sextet called The Jazz Prophets.

Traveling all over the world, the band joined with Owl Studios in 2008 with its debut album, "A Ride to the Other Side." Its most recent album, "Echoes of Ethnicity", was awarded ‘Best Jazz Album of the Year' by the Independent Music Awards.

In his last 18 years, Gardner has performed with many renowned jazz artists, including Frank Foster, Tony Bennett, Rufus Reid and Harry Connick Jr., to name a few.

Gardner and the other judges will perform together for the students and audience at noon.

"The main reason we have the jazz festival is because there are many jazz roots in Terre Haute. This is one way the public gets to enjoy what we do," said Jack Parker, Jazz Festival coordinator. Michael Hackett, jazz ensemble director, will also assist in facilitating the festival.

The event will conclude with the performance by ISU's jazz ensemble and an evening awards ceremony.

Contact: Jack Parker, Jazz Festival coordinator, at

Writer: Mallory Metheny, media relations assistant, 812-237-3773 or