UCO Jazz Studies Presents Inaugural Jazz Festival

UCO Jazz Studies Presents Inaugural Jazz Festival

UCO’s Edmond Jazz Festival takes place Sept. 23-30 at the UCO Jazz Lab. The festival allows students to practice and perform with alumni and professional acts throughout the week.  (Photo provided by Unsplash.)

The University of Central Oklahoma’s Jazz Studies department will host the first UCO Edmond Jazz Festival Sept. 23-30, showcasing student performers and professional headlining acts.

The festival is split up into two parts: Jazz@Lunch, where UCO students perform at various restaurants in the area during the lunch hour, and Jazz@Night, where these students, as well as alumni and professional acts, perform.

The organization has spent 15 years in the Edmond community but this will be the first event of its kind. UCO Jazz Lab Director Clint Rohr said the idea largely came out of other festival experiences.

“During the last two years, our students were asked to participate in the Oklahoma City Jazz Festival,” Rohr said. “While attending the festival two years ago, I thought it would be nice to have a local Edmond festival that allowed our students to present themselves to our community.”

There are a hand-full of music festivals that already take place in the metro, but Rohr says this one is different.

“What makes this festival unique is the student aspect,” Rohr said. “Every group except the two headliners has a strong tie to the UCO community.”

David Anderson, the performer on Saturday, Sept. 24, graduated from UCO and has had a very successful career in the Los Angeles area.

One alum, Paul Stephens, shared his feelings about returning to the campus nearly 30 years later to perform with Anderson.

“I am so excited to be performing with David on this concert,” he said. “We’ll be playing in the same band together again after more than 28 years. It’s like things have come full circle.”

The festival was kicked off Friday, Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. at the UCO Jazz Lab, located at 100 E. 5th St. in Edmond. 

However, the concerts are not just for entertainment. One of the main goals behind the festival is to raise funds for students.

“Due to the extreme budget cuts to higher education and increased tuition, the entire higher education community has been trying to find ways to raise funds for students,” Rohr said.

The event is currently sponsored by Tres Amigos Productions, Café Evoke, Covell Park, Flatire Burgers and Hideaway Pizza, in addition to UCO-based organizations. The sponsors are donating food, advertising and locations to perform.

“The concerts on Sept. 23, 26, and 30 will support student scholarships and activities,” Rohr said. “We hope to eventually gain enough sponsorships to have the entire festival raise funds for student scholarships and activities.”

Flatire Burgers, located on Ayers Avenue, plans to donate 10 percent of sales during the student lunch performance on Sept. 29 from noon to 1 p.m.

For a full list of events and performances, click here.

Both Jazz@Lunch and Jazz@Night are open to the public. Jazz@Lunch is free and Jazz@Night ticket prices range from $10-$80 depending on the performance.

You can purchase tickets online or by calling the Jazz Lab at 405-974-2100.

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