Visitors to the annual Twilight Criterium bicycle races in downtown Athens will get another chance to get jazzed up April 24–25.
The 2nd Annual UGA/Athens Twilight Jazz Festival will bring national artists and local players on stage in what organizers are billing as “an instrument of outreach and service to the community and region.”
Sponsored by the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia, in partnership with the Athens Twilight Criterium, the festival will combine and continue to revive two jazz festival traditions in Athens: the UGA Jazz Festival of Champions organized by late Roger Dancz, who was director of UGA Bands, and the Athens Jazz Festival held in conjunction with the Twilight Criterium for many years.
The festival will be headlined by the U.S. Army Ground Forces’ Jazz Guardians, featuring premier trombonist Andy Martin. Martin and the Guardians will perform Friday, April 24, at 8 p.m. on the Twilight Outdoor Main Stage at 200 College Avenue. The Saturday night headliner will be the Festival All-Stars, featuring prominent jazz guitarist Mimi Fox. The All-Stars will go on at 5 p.m.
Music during the festival will be free to the public on the Twilight Outdoor Stage in downtown Athens.
After the Friday performance, Ciné will host the Festival Jam Session beginning at 9:30 p.m. The house band will be Prime Time Jazz, which features local musicians Jim McKillip on piano, Jason Cheek on drums and Chris Enghauser playing bass.
The festival builds on other successful jazz events and opportunities for Athenians and UGA students, most notably the residencies featuring jazz legend Dave Brubeck and his associate Russell Gloyd as well as Darmon Meader of the New York Voices. The UGA Jazz Band, which performed in China in 2008, will be featured at the festival as well. Performances by Classic City Jazz, a vocal jazz ensemble, also will be spotlighted. Classic City Jazz sings standards as well as new compositions and arrangements. On Friday night, UGA Georgia brass will round off a block of student talent.
This two-day educational festival will serve middle schools, high schools, colleges and community groups in the region providing clinics and workshops for jazz big bands, jazz combos, vocal jazz groups and vocal soloists. The festival features clinicians from around the country who are well known in performance and pedagogy areas of their respective fields.
“Currently, there is no other comparable jazz festival in the state of Georgia that combines the educational and community elements and is open to both vocal and instrumental groups,” said Mitos Andaya, festival co-director and associate director of choral activities at the Hodgson School. “The University of Georgia has the opportunity to fill this niche.”
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