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Jazz bands to heat up cold winter: JazzFest 2014 on tap this week at BSU

After a simple Facebook post by BSU music professor Del Lyren inviting alumni to participate in the final concert of JazzFest 2014, it didn’t take long for an esteemed group to respond.

One of the most enthusiastic is John Horgeshimer, who is among a group of more than 20 alumni to sign-up for an alumni concert this week as part of JazzFest on Friday-Saturday at BSU. Although he and wife Mindy (Seigert) have moved away from their hometown to follow career choices, Horgeshimer looked back at his student days at BSU as essential basic training and a solid foundation. Horgeshimer finished his music education degree in 2005 at BSU and found he liked working with young adults. Living in Duluth for a time allowed Horgeshimer to finish his master’s degree in saxophone performance at UMD in 2010.

“I started playing with the BSU jazz band while I was still in high school,” he said. “I went to school to learn how to perform, not to be an academic, but when I went out into the world and taught at some area schools, I realized I liked what I was doing and went back to get a teaching degree. Now, I am at Herron high school in downtown Indianapolis, considered one of the four best (schools) in the state. I teach jazz band, ensemble and advanced  placement music theory.”

Horgeshimer is also a doctoral student at Ball State University in saxophone performance and composition.

Horgeshimer said he’s been looking for a way to get back to his hometown to play for his family and Lyren made that happen with the invitation to participate in the BSU Jazz Festival as part of the Alumni Band. Horgeshimer has helped out, too, working to contact fellow alumni to come back for the event. He said he’s found that many of his friends now teach in Bemidji and surrounding areas.

Bands near and far This year’s festival will host 20 high school bands, primarily from Minnesota, but there will be a high school band from Canada and one adult band for a total of 350 musicians.

Three-time Grammy winner Jeff Coffin and Wycliffe Gordon, eight-time Jazz Journalists Association Trombonist of the Year, will be lead clinicians for JazzFest 2014, along with BSU adjunct faculty Greg Gaston and Evan Cobb.

“This is not a competitive clinic; it is purely educational” said Lyren, festival organizer.

Each band will have a 45-minute performance spot, which will include a 20-minute performance followed by constructive critique from the guest clinicians. Each guest artist will  hold their own clinic; sponsors will have instrument clinics and demo instruments for the students to try out. BSU is known for its state-of-the-art tech lab and suite. These events, which will be held during the day, are open to the public at no charge.

The Alumni Band will feature musicians from as far away as Seattle. The group will hold a concert Friday night playing with Gordon on the main stage of Bangsberg Fine

Arts Complex at BSU. There will be an open jazz session to be held after the concert hosted by Cobb and Coffin at Thompson Recital Hall. Musicians in the audience will be invited on stage for the jam, so remember to bring your instrument to the show.

The alumni concert will begin at 8:30 p.m. Friday. Saturday night’s performance of BSU’s Blue Ice band with Gordon and Coffin will begin at 7:30 p.m. on the main stage of Bangsberg.

Tickets are $10 for the general public, $5 for students and free for Northwest Technical College and BSU students with a valid ID. The concerts tend to sell out; tickets are on sale now at the Music Department on the second floor of Bangsberg.