Tallcorn Jazz Fest goes virtual


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The Tallcorn Jazz Festival will be taking a virtual approach this year due to COVID-19.


The 66th annual Tallcorn Jazz Festival, hosted by the brothers of the Beta Nu chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity, will take place online Feb. 19. The festival will feature online workshops, video performances, guest artists, UNI jazz faculty and a showcase concert free for all to watch.

Over 50 bands have submitted videos for the festival. Participating bands will receive video feedback from one of five New York based jazz musicians: drummers Carl Allen and Matt Wilson, trumpeter Dave Douglas, trombonist Ryan Keberle and pianist David Berkman. The bands will also engage in an interactive Zoom clinic from a UNI jazz faculty member.

A virtual concert will be held Friday at 7 p.m. featuring pre-recorded tracks from UNI Jazz Bands One and Two.

Although this year’s festival will be uncompetitive, outstanding bands chosen by the panel of New York jazz musicians will be featured during the virtual concert. The concert will be streamed on the UNI Jazz Studies Facebook page and the School of Music web page.

Although the format of the festival may be different due to COVID-19, professor of jazz studies Chris Merz believes the event will still be just as beneficial for students.

“We could never afford to bring five musicians of this level to campus at the same time, so that is a definite plus,” he said. “Since we are one of the few festivals in the state to adopt an online model, we were able to go forward where many other festivals could not. I believe these two factors together account for the high number of bands participating, even though rehearsal schedules have been severely compromised by COVID and the harsh weather.”

Merz is appreciative of the hard work people put in order to put on the festival this year.

“I am both proud and grateful to the membership of the Beta Nu chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia for helping realize this virtual festival. Hats off to my great colleagues also, and to Tom Barry for his always excellent work on our audio recordings and to Jasmine Aquino for the video work.”

For more information on Tallcorn Jazz Festival, visit www.tallcornjazzfest.com.