Jazz Fest Unveils 2013 “Lionel Hampton Youth Jazz Orchestra”

Wednesday, January 23 2013

MOSCOW, Idaho – Under the vision and guidance of artistic director John Clayton, the University of Idaho Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival is pleased to bring together the Lionel Hampton New York Big Band with the talent of youth to create the Lionel Hampton Youth Jazz Orchestra.

Each year the Lionel Hampton Big Band is one of the featured acts at the festival. This year, after a rigorous audition process, three college students were selected to participate in the big band’s performance — creating the Youth Jazz Orchestra, a once in a lifetime opportunity to work side-by-side with the stellar talents of the big band members.

This year’s students are tenor saxophonist Ryan Thomas from the University of Idaho, and two students from Brigham Young University-Idaho, drummer Colten McEwan and trumpeter Robert Sears.

Raised in Boise, Idaho, Ryan Thomas has played saxophone for nearly 15 years. Thomas was one of the founding members of the Boise Saxophone Quartet and the jazz/funk group Phantazmagoria. He has played with the Boise State University Symphonic Winds, the Boise Philharmonic and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. Currently, Thomas is pursuing a degree in saxophone performance at the University of Idaho.

Colten McEwan began playing the drums in sixth grade. In eighth grade, he auditioned and was selected to perform with Shania Twain, an experience that fueled his passion for music and performance. McEwan attends Brigham Young University-Idaho, where he performs with their top band – Sound Alliance. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts and Music, with a minor in chemistry, and hopes to attend medical school.

Trumpet player Robert Sears is a senior who also studies at Brigham Young University Idaho and is completing his Bachelor of Music in Music Education. Sears has appeared with Wynton Marsalis as a part of the Inaugural Jazz Band of America sponsored by Music For All, the Canadian Brass, Eric Marienthal and Byron Stripling, among others. In the near future, he plans to pursue a master’s degree in classical performance.

“Lionel Hampton was always a lightning rod for exceptional talent,” said Steven Remington, festival executive director. “Lionel discovered, nurtured and trained some of the most talented jazz musicians over his career and employed many of them in the Lionel Hampton Big Band, including this year’s Wednesday night headliner, trumpet virtuoso Byron Stripling. We’re very excited to be able to continue this tradition with the Lionel Hampton Youth Jazz Orchestra.”

In January, Thomas, McEwan and Sears traveled to the University of Idaho campus to rehearse with festival artistic director John Clayton and Ray Briggs, in preparation for the 2013 festival. In February, during festival week, they will return to campus to rehearse with the professional players in the band, transforming their individual skills through the power of the ensemble.

On Saturday, Feb. 23 in the ASUI Kibbie-Activity Center, the festival will pay tribute to Lionel Hampton with the Lionel Hampton Youth Jazz Orchestra, directed by Clayton. This is sure to be a hard swinging set of music that celebrates a legacy of Lionel Hampton. Featured artists will include vibraphone player Warren Wolf and Dutch vocalist Traincha Oosterhuis. Also appearing on Saturday night will be saxophonist Maceo Parker and his band.

Tickets are now on sale. Tickets may be ordered through the University of Idaho ticket office at (208) 885-7212, (888) 8-UIDAHO or online at www.uidaho.edu/ticketoffice.

Visit www.uidaho.edu/jazzfest or call 208-885-6765 for the most up-to-date festival information.
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About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho inspires students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. Through the university’s $225 million Inspiring Futures capital campaign, private giving will enhance student learning, faculty research and innovation, and a spirit of enterprise. Learn more: www.uidaho.edu.