The Shepherd University Jazz Ensemble has performed throughout the East Coast and Europe and is in great demand as a feature band in Jazz Festivals around the globe. Invited to the world-renowned Montreux Jazz festival in 2003, the Jazz Ensemble played throughout Switzerland and Italy on a 9-day concert tour. In 1999, the band took their Ellington Tour to England and France. In the US they have been featured at the Longwood, the Blue Ridge, and The East Coast Jazz Festivals, as well as regional festivals throughout Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey. The group has performed with Kenney Werner, Bill Watrous, Paquito D’Rivera, Alan Vizzutti, Ingrid Jensen. Claudio Roditi, Tim Hagans, and Maria Schneider.
The jazz faculty features some of the finest jazz musicians in the Mid-Atlantic including Dr. Kurtis Adams, Kevin Pace, Griffith Kazmeirczak, Robin Rhodes, and Kelton Norris. The jazz faculty are committed to helping music students develop their craft and find their unique voice as jazz musicians.
All concerts are open to the public and high school students may always receive complimentary tickets by contacting the department or director. The ensemble performs repertoire from all of the stylistic periods of jazz including new works by contemporary jazz composers. Ensembles rehearse twice a week (TuTh, 11-12:15) as a group and have individual sectionals as well. In addition to the large ensemble, the jazz combos are small jazz chamber groups that focus on standard jazz repertoire and performance practices. Students in these ensembles explore improvisation strategies, develop ensemble arrangements, and perform frequently on campus and in the community. The combos are coached by members of the jazz faculty and meet two hours per week.