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A conductor leads a band at Cal U - NewsA conductor leads a band at Cal U - News


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Music Department

Posted on March 24, 2011

A performance by the ’Burgh Big Band will wrap up the 29th annual California Jazz Experience, three days of master classes and jazz performances in Gallagher and Morgan Halls.

Dubbed CJE XXIX, the event will bring high school and middle school jazz bands to campus Tuesday through Thursday for performances and master classes with guest jazz artists. In addition, clinicians will work with students on sight-reading skills and prepared pieces.

Young musicians from the Brentwood, Charleroi, Chartiers-Houston, Kiski Area, Keystone Oaks, Montour and Ringgold school districts will attend. 

Among the guest instructors is saxophone player Curtis Johnson, now retired from West Virginia University. A former associate professor of music, he continues to perform and to promote music as a soloist, clinician, adjudicator and conductor.

Johnson has performed on numerous programs for the North American Saxophone Conference, World Saxophone Congress and National Saxophone Symposium. He has performed as a soloist with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and worked as arranger and performer with the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra. He also is a substitute performer for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Renowned in the field of rhythm and blues, his work can be heard on more than 80 CDs, including jazz, blues, rock and R&B recordings. 

Cal U’s jazz ensemble will give lunchtime concerts at noon during each day of the Jazz Experience, playing in the Morgan Hall Learning Resource Center Auditorium. A concert with a “Motown Reflections” theme is planned for 8 p.m. April 6 in the same location. 

A “Pop A Cappella” concert will take place at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Morgan Hall. All music will be provided by human voices alone. Three Cal U groups are scheduled to perform: the all-male Vulcanize, all-female A Cappella Stella and the mixed group California Singers. Visiting a cappella groups also will be singing.

The Jazz Experience will close with a performance by the ’Burgh Big Band at 8 p.m. Thursday in Morgan Hall.

All concerts are free and open to the public, as well as the Cal U community. The Music Department and its chair, Professor Max Gonano, host the popular event.