Rowan Jazz Festival 'Goes to the Movies'

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The 42nd Annual Rowan Jazz Festival welcomes guest artist Mike Tomaro and closes with the concert, "Jazz Goes to the Movies."

The three-day, educationally-focused Rowan Jazz Festival celebrates its 42nd year and concludes with a gala concert event – “Jazz Goes to the Movies” – on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 8 pm in the university’s Pfleeger Concert Hall.

Festival director and acclaimed jazz artist Denis DiBlasio welcomes noted saxophonist, arranger, composer and educator Mike Tomaro as this year’s guest artist, joining Rowan’s Lab Band, Jazz Band and other performers at the concert.

Hosted by the Maynard Ferguson Institute of Jazz Studies at Rowan, the concert caps a three-day event (February 15-17) that focuses on providing a non-competitive, educational environment. Schools from throughout the region take part in adjudication sessions, workshops and performances aimed at teaching, as well as spotlighting high school and middle school jazz musicians.

The daily schedule – from 9 am to 4:30 pm in Wilson Hall – gives each participating ensemble an opportunity to perform in front of clinicians, guests and other schools. Members of the Rowan jazz faculty and visiting artists work with each band and provide valuable feedback. A clinic in the middle of each day can include anything from addressing specific topics to performances. These daily clinics are free and open to the public.

“This is a lively event filled with great playing and great educational experiences wrapped up in a friendly atmosphere,” DiBlasio notes. “The non-competitive environment allows for groundbreaking, loose, interactive moments that have become the cornerstone of the festival.”

Participating schools include Arthur P. Schalick High School (Pittsgrove), Berlin Community School, Cherry Hill High School East, Cherokee High School (Marlton), Deptford High School, Germantown Academy (Fort Washington, PA), Kingsway Regional High School (Woolwich Township), Northern Burlington Regional High School (Columbus), Ocean City High School, Overbrook High School (Pine Hill), Ranney School (Tinton Falls), St. Augustine Prep (Richland), Southern Regional High School (Manahawkin) and Washington Township High School (Sewell).

Tomaro has been the Director of Jazz Studies at Duquesne University since 1997 and was with the Army Blues Jazz Ensemble for 17 years, serving as its Enlisted Musical Director and performing for Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton and heads of state from around the world. Additionally, he has performed with such artists as Rosemary Clooney, Ray Charles, Michael Feinstein, Linda Ronstadt, Johnny Mathis, Wayne Bergeron, Terence Blanchard, Louis Bellson, Terry Gibbs, Nancy Wilson, Dizzy Gillespie Tribute Big Band, Woody Herman Orchestra and the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. His CDs include Forgotten Dreams (Seabreeze Jazz), Dancing Eyes (Seabreeze Jazz), Home Again (Positive Music) and Nightowl Suite (Seabreeze Jazz), which features his Three Rivers Jazz Orchestra. His more than 150 published compositions and arrangements have been performed by the likes of David Liebman, Wayne Bergeron, Ivan Lins, Claudio Roditi, Mike Stern, Ernie Watts, Bobby Shew, Randy Brecker, Al Vizzutti, and many more. Tomaro has earned degrees from Duquesne and George Mason University. He is a Yamaha Performing Artist and endorses Vandoren reeds, mouthpieces and ligatures exclusively.

Tickets for the concert are $15 each, and free for Rowan students and staff with valid ID. Purchase tickets online at www.rowan.tix.com or call the box office at 856-256-4545. Admission to the daytime events is free. For more information on the festival and the daily schedule, contact Denis DiBlasio at 856-256-4500, ext. 3528. Pfleeger Concert Hall is located in Wilson Hall on the campus of Rowan University, Route 322 in Glassboro.

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