Jazz-MU-Tazz finale concert highlights young musicians
HUNTINGTON -- The young musicians involved in Marshall University's 16th annual Jazz-MU-Tazz summer camp hit all the right notes at Saturday's finale performance.
The 25 or so students performed an hour-long concert at Pullman Square that highlighted what they learned during the camp, which took place from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.
"I learned to much," said 14-year-old Beth Bell. "There was so much information packed into one week-long camp, but I never got tired of it. I love all music, but jazz has to be my favorite. You can do whatever you want with it and you just pour your heart into this music."
Bell, an incoming freshman at Huntington High, joined high school and college level musicians for the camp with Marshall University jazz professor Ed Bingham.
Bingham said the camp is an enrichment program for students to explore jazz outside of the usual school curriculum, which often puts jazz lower on the list below marching band or just doesn't fit into the normal curriculum.
Throughout the week, students had classes in jazz performance and improvisation as well as learned the history of jazz and jazz theory. Bingham said they played music every day and even took in a performance from the faculty. They also worked with special guest Jeff Bair, a saxophonist who received his master's and doctoral degree in music from the University of North Texas and performed with show orchestras for The Temptations, Rich Little and Frank Sinatra Jr.
"It's always nice to have someone fresh come in," Bingham said. "Students pay attention to new things that are presented to them and the people we have coming in throughout the year or for this camp really bring a different perspective or different means of getting to the same place."
Bair joined the group for their finale -- and only public performance for the week -- on Saturday.
Bingham said it was good for the students to end the week playing in front of an audience.
"When you're working in the arts, you're working toward a goal and the reward in your work is presented at the performance," he said. "Just like a visual artist might be looking to complete a painting, their completion of their work is at a concert."
The camp was open to all student musicians from grades 7 through 12 and cost $200 to attend.
Follow reporter Kristi Murphy on Twitter, @Kristi_Murphy.
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