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2009.06.09 > For Immediate Release
contact: Sarah Casey - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: sk.casey@yahoo.com

Music Department to Host Jazz Workshop, Jim Widner Big Band Concerts

Omaha - The Omaha Jazz Workshop summer camp finds its home at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) this summer, when it combines forces with the Jim Widner Big Band to present the week-long camp for middle school, high school and college students, and adults.

The camp will run from Monday, June 14, through Friday, June 19, and is designed for instrumental students in grades 7 and older to learn more about jazz theory, improvisation and performance.

Workshop participants will attend instrument masterclasses and improvisation classes, and perform in jazz ensembles. The students will also serve as the opening act of a concert on June 19, featuring the Jim Widner Big Band at 7 p.m. in the Strauss Performing Arts Center Recital Hall on the UNO campus.

Family members, teachers and friends are encouraged to attend in support of the students as they demonstrate their improved instrumental skills. Tickets are $10 per person. The Jim Widner Big Band will perform concerts on Sunday June 14, Monday June 15, Tuesday June 16 and Thursday June 18 at 8 p.m. in the Strauss Performing Arts Center Recital Hall. A $10 ticket is good for one or all concerts.

Band members include: Gary Anderson, Rod Fleeman, John Harner, Gary Hobbs,Ken Kehner, Pete Madsen, Tom Matta, Paul McKee, Chip McNeill, Jim Oatts, Darren Pettit, Dave Pietro, Kim Richmond, Dave Scott, Mike Vax, Jim Widner and Scott Whitfield.

The Omaha Jazz Workshop, sponsored by the UNO Department of Music, is in its sixth year. It was founded by Dr. Peter Madsen, an associate trombone professor and director of jazz studies at UNO, and UNO saxophone and music theory instructor Darren Pettit to provide a hands-on learning opportunity for junior high and high school music students from the metropolitan area.

Members of the Jim Widner Big Band will serve as faculty at the camp throughout the week.

Jim Widner is an alumnus of the Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, and Glenn Miller Big Bands, and is celebrating his 22nd year of hosting summer camps around the United States.

As a bassist with the Stan Kenton Orchestra, Widner was strongly influenced by Kenton's dedication to young student musicians. He was a faculty member of Kenton's instrumental camps for 10 years and helped Kenton to organize and expand his camps from California to other locations across the United States. Widner has perfromed at the world famous Lionel Hampton and Montreaux Jazz festivals. His performance background includes concert dates with Clark Terry, Buddy DeFranco, Mulgrew Miller, Louis Bellson, Randy Brecker, Bill Watrous and Marilyn Maye. Widner also had an appearance before former United States President Bill Clinton.

For more information, contact Peter Madsen, director of jazz studies, at (402) 554-2297 or petermadsen@unomaha.edu. To view the Omaha Jazz Workshop summer camp brochure, visit www.unomaha.edu/music/pdfs/jazzworkshopbrochure09.pdf .

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The celebration recognizes the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908. This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to www.unomaha.edu/100/.

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