MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Northern Michigan University’s 21st annual Jazz Festival has been going on since Wednesday with nearly 20 student ensemble bands from around the Great Lakes. There have been several guest clinicians featuring International Trumpet Soloist, Allen Vizzutti.
"The universality of music is really true and fabulous. It’s cross-cultural, cross-language, across musical styles and it proves itself to me time after time," Vizzutti remarked.
Vizzutti is a trumpet legend. He travels the world playing music with countless other talented musicians. He's a renowned studio, jazz and concert artist. He’s also and successful composer.
Mark Flaherty is the Director of the NMU Jazz Festival and an NMU Music Professor. He was thrilled to have Vizzutti in town.
"It's certainly great to be able to bring artists of Allen Vizzutti's caliber to Marquette and to NMU. We have such great local talent too. Clinicians we have working with bands today are people like Dave Ziegner and Harry South, Patrick Booth, Zach Ott, Mike Irish," Flaherty boasted.
Vizzutti and the other musicians hosted several workshops Friday to give these students a few lessons, pointers, best practices and a bit of perspective.
"Take a big relaxed breathe and make a beautiful sound. I'm saying that to myself in my brain all the time," Vizzutti recommended. But the Jazz Festival is about more than simply sharing advice.
"It's a great opportunity for the students to get to hear other bands too. You know, if you’re playing in your group in your school you kind of get used to that. It’s neat for them to come and have the opportunity to hear ten or twelve bands possibly and find out what other jazz bands are doing," Flaherty reckoned.
Bringing Viizzutti to Marquette was a huge win for NMU. It highlights NMU’s interest in the musical arts. It also highlights the influence of jazz on American music and culture.
"Jazz is this wonderful genre, it's a very important because it really is America’s original art form. And there are so many different styles of jazz from Dixieland to swing to bebop, fusion, you name it. In this day and age jazz draws on so many different styles of music,” Flaherty reasoned.
Both Vizzutti and Flaherty also stressed the importance of music education in general.
"The arts are so important in the schools. So it’s so great to see all these young kids playing this music and really getting excited and seeing the guest artists,” Flaherty declared.
You can see Vizzutti perform for yourself at the final concert in Kaufman Auditorium at 7:30. You can also watch his perform with the Marquette Symphony Orchestra at Kaufman Auditorium at 7:30 pm.
If you are unable to attend the concerts, Vizzutti has one last request.
"Keep music in your life. It helps not only you but anyone who hears you feels better too,” Vizzutti concluded.