A highlight of the winter jazz season in West Virginia is the annual performance by the West Virginia Wesleyan College Jazz Ensembles, under the direction of Dr. James Moore. The 2012 event is set for Friday and Saturday in the Virginia T. Law Performing Arts Center on the Wesleyan Campus in Buckhannon.
This year's performances have been expanded to two evenings to accommodate participation by high school students, undergraduates, Wesleyan faculty and professional jazz artists in a variety of ensembles and programs, according to a media release by the West Virginia Jazz Society, a co-promoter of the event.
A free concert on Friday will feature a set by the Buckhannon-Upshur High School jazz band, followed by the Wesleyan Jazz Ensemble performing music by Mike Tomaro. Tomaro is director of Duquesne University's jazz programs, and a recognized and highly regarded jazz artist and composer.
On Saturday, featured professional jazz artists, Wesleyan jazz faculty and students will present "The Jazz Nutcracker," arranged by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, and performed in a special "big band" format for only the second time in the central West Virginia region. Faculty members performing are Jeff Bush, Curtis Johnson, and Moore. Guest professionals are Steve Hawk, Adam Loudin, Mike Cemprola, Paul Thompson, Emmett Goods and Dr. Sean Parsons.
Opening the Saturday evening performances will be a "Senior Showcase" set by Kyle Andrews, a talented Wesleyan student who already plays drums professionally, performing with Jeff Bush, Adam Loudin, Paul Thompson and Dr. Sean Parsons of Marshall University.
Tickets at $5 for the general public and $3 for students are available one hour before the 8 p.m. shows at Virginia T. Law Performing Arts Center box office. For more information, email to James Moore@ moore-J@wvwc.edu. A limited number of free tickets are available by emailing: WesleyanTix@WVJazzSociety.com.