MU jazz camp hits new level this year
HUNTINGTON — Since Monday, the Jomie Jazz Center at Marshall University in Huntington has been filled with the sounds of music and learning as 34 students from around the region take part in the Jazz-MU-Tazz camp that was started nearly 20 years ago.
This year, however, the camp offers new opportunities because it is intertwined with the first Huntington International Jazz Festival occurring this week.
Marshall also partnered with Nu Jazz Agency to bring in a young bassist from Fort Worth, Texas, who is attending the camp.
Marshall’s Jazz Studies Director Martin Saunders said this year’s camp has a few more students than usual, but figures that next year, the camp will grow as jazz fans find out the camp and festival will be an annual occurrence in Huntington.
“There is a stir of excitement, and I think the fruits of the excitement really will be (exceeded) this year even though this is the first year ” Saunders said. “I think people will really get a taste for everything going on this year.
“This year is about what we normally have, but there will be such an influx of international artists and performers who will be able to meet face to face with some of our kids, that that raises the level of what we are able to offer,” he said. “I think we are seeing kids from further out regionally but not yet nationally, like the kid coming from Texas. I think it will be (exceeded) this year, when it really picks up.”
Saunders said the students are intertwined with the main part of the festival and will kick off the Friday festivities with a 4 p.m. concert at Pullman Square.
“We adjusted the days of our camp so that the final concert would coincide with the beginning of the weekend activities for the festival, so that we could provide maximum exposure for the campers to the folks that were going to be here, and to make sure they were a part of the festival and so that our local and regional kids could be a part of this,” Saunders said. “Yes, this is an entertainment thing, but also something that is educational as well.”