3-19-14-methodist.gifJazz music is a national treasure. Along with musical theater, it is one of the rare true American art forms with roots dating back to the early 20th century. Its impact has shaped the modern world of music and has influenced a myriad of musicians to pick up instruments and learn to play the wonderful art that is music. With music legends like John Coltrane, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and the great Duke Ellington, it is easy to see the mark that jazz music has made not only on our country, but the world over.

Join Methodist University as it hosts its annual Jazz Festival. This free event is scheduled for March 22, at the Huff Auditorium on the campus of Methodist University. To make it as convenient as possible for the general public, it will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a break for lunch. The point of this festival is to share jazz with those who may have an interest, a curiosity or who may have never considered it before. It is also a time to focus and exhibit the talents of musicians who are already proficient in the discipline of jazz music.

The day will begin with Methodist University instructor Skip Walker conducting a workshop entitled “Thinking Jazz” in which he will discuss what it takes to think and play improvised music. A number of classes including those involving performance-based discussion are scheduled, too. Following lunch, the Methodist University Jazz Orchestra, with guest performer Mike Wallace will perform.

Methodist University’s Director of Band, Dr. Daniel McCloud says that this festival is important because the art of jazz music is dissipating in American culture. He discussed why he believes this to be so.

“I think that the single biggest factor for jazz losing its appeal is that jazz musicians simply don’t make as much as they used to. Maybe it’s because people are afraid of improvising music or playing with someone who has more experience,” he said.

McCloud went on to say that he feels North Carolina has a special relationship with jazz music given artists like North Carolina native John Coltrane. In addition, Branford Marsalis was an instructor at North Carolina Central University. McCloud also stated that fewer and fewer public high schools in the state offer classes in jazz.

Having received his bachelor’s and doctorate degree from Ball State University as well as master’s from University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Dr. McCloud is a percussionist with 14 years of experience in higher education. He comes to Fayetteville to serve Methodist University with professional experience in music. Join Methodist University in this free event to promote awareness of jazz music. With a half day of amazing performers and classes, the Jazz Festival is a great opportunity to begin a new hobby and learn about a true American art form. For more information, call Dr. Daniel McCloud at 910.630.7673.

Photo: Join Methodist University as it hosts the annual Jazz Festival.

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