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Department of Music to host February 16 middle, high school jazz festival

ISSUED: 8 February 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — The Shepherd University Jazz Festival, which will feature performances by middle and high school students from throughout the region, will take place Saturday, February 16, from 9 a.m.-5:15 p.m. Each participating band will perform in the Frank Center Theater and then will attend a clinic with one of the festival’s clinicians. All performances are free and open to the public.

Middle school students from Charles Town, Harpers Ferry, Shepherdstown, Wildwood, Admiral Byrd, and Martinsburg South will perform from 9-11:30 a.m. High school students from Musselman, Washington, Walkersville, Jefferson, Washington, and Spring Mills, and Harmony Middle School students will perform from 12:30-4:30 p.m. The festival will conclude with an exhibition performance at 5:30 p.m. by the Shepherd University Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Kurtis Adams, associate professor of music and director of jazz studies.

This year’s clinicians include Adams, bassist Glenn Dewey, and saxophonist Paul White.

Adams began playing the saxophone at age nine and pursued music professionally while in high school. Adams has performed with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra. In 2005, Downbeat Magazine named Adams college co-winner for Best Original Composition for his work “Instable Mate?” and in 2007 he was selected to participate in the Paquito D’Rivera Latin Jazz Workshop performing with the Grammy-winning saxophonist at Carnegie Hall in New York.

Dewey, a former Shepherd adjunct music professor, performed with “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band and Chamber Orchestra in 49 states, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Dewey frequently performs as a freelance artist with the nation’s top jazz artists. He regularly performs at jazz clubs, clubs throughout the country and at regional festivals such as the East Coast Jazz Festival and the Rosslyn Jazz Festival, and at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Dewey can be heard on the Summit Records recording “love songs” with artist Harry Watters and the Grammy-nominated album by Julie Keim, “Only Yesterday.” Additionally, he has performed throughout the country at concert halls such as Carnegie Hall in New York, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana, Illinois, Benaroya Hall in Seattle, Washington, and Strathmore Concert Hall in Bethesda, Maryland.

White is the founding member of The Paul White Quintet, a contemporary jazz quintet that has performed in many different venues throughout the country including several annual jazz festivals. In 2008, White was awarded the position of baritone saxophonist with the U.S. Army Field Bands Jazz Ambassadors. As a member of the Jazz Ambassadors, he played concerts across the United State for hundreds of thousands of people each year. He was featured as a member of the band on The Colbert Report and was part of the Kennedy Center Honors dedication to Dave Brubeck. He has played for many political officials including Vice President Joe Biden and President Barak Obama. In 2011 he was appointed to the arranging staff of the U.S. Army Field Band.

The Shepherd University Jazz Ensemble has performed throughout the East Coast and Europe. Invited to the world-renowned Montreux Jazz festival in 2003, the Jazz Ensemble played throughout Switzerland and Italy on a nine-day concert tour. In 1999, the band took its Ellington Tour to England and France. In the United States the group has been featured at the Longwood, Blue Ridge, and East Coast Jazz Festivals, as well as regional festivals throughout Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey.

For more information about the Shepherd University Jazz Festival performances or other department events, call 304-876-5555 or visit

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