SXU's Jazz Ensemble Heads to New Orleans for JENerations Jazz Festival
The Saint Xavier University (SXU) Jazz Ensemble is heading down to New Orleans to perform in the JENerations Jazz Festival in January, one of the biggest gatherings of jazz musicians, educators and enthusiasts in the world. JEN, the Jazz Education Network, was founded in 2008 with a mission to build the jazz community and promote the art of jazz through advocating education, promoting performances and developing new audiences. JEN provides scholarships and grants to schools and organizations and holds an annual conference that features performances, workshops, panel discussions and research presentations. The SXU Jazz Ensemble will be participating in both the conference and the festival, which they were selected to perform at.
Shawn Salmon, D.A., director of Jazz Studies, knew he wanted to take the Jazz Ensemble to the conference after he presented in New Orleans two years ago. "This is truly an honor. I am so proud of the students for all the hard work, dedication and sacrifices they've made to make this trip possible. They are all incredibly gifted musicians and each one brings their gifts together to create something beautiful." In addition to the performances, students will also have access to the educational opportunities showcased at the conference.
The ensemble students are just as excited as Salmon. Rachel Garcia, a senior music education major and lead alto saxophonist, said, "Being able to perform in New Orleans gives me a chance to grow as a musician, experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share with my future students and learn as much as possible about jazz in the city where it was born." Echoing Garcia's thoughts, music education major and drummer Chris Habrelwicz said, "It means so much to me to be able to go to New Orleans and perform because the experience will help me branch out and get myself known while learning what it means to entertain others." Like Garcia and Habrelwicz, sophomore nursing major Ximena Garcia can't wait to go to New Orleans. "It means a lot to me to be able to play at the JENerations Conference because music has kept me sane. Jazz lets me have fun and be creative, and this performance is something I will look back on and be proud of," said Ximena Garcia.
The SXU Jazz Ensemble shows no signs of slowing down. As the program continues to grow, the faculty and students aim to create music that inspires and brings joy. "Jazz celebrates the individual and collective as one. It brings together everyone's unique abilities and experiences to create music that is one of a kind," said Salmon. The ensemble has been fundraising for their New Orleans trip since the beginning of the semester and will do one final fundraiser for their Jazz Night concert on December 6.
"I am excited that the students will have an incredible experience in the city that lives and breathes jazz. I hope that each one will come home with stories and memories they will cherish for the rest of their lives," said Salmon. "SXU has incredible students, and they give so much of themselves to pursue their passions and dreams. We have some of the best educators and students, and we are grateful and proud to be a part of this wonderful Music Department."
SXU is proud of all the Jazz Ensemble has accomplished and roots for their upcoming New Orleans performance!