The Ashland University Jazz Orchestra received recognition as an “Outstanding Band” at the 43rd Elmhurst College Jazz Festival, the second oldest and most prestigious collegiate jazz festival in the country held last month in Elmhurst, Ill.
A total of 41 university jazz groups participated in the weekend and the Ashland University’s Jazz Orchestra was one of only four private institutions to be recognized as an “Outstanding Band.” The weekend also was highlighted by performances of the Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band, Bill Watrous, Michael Davis, Tom Scott, Wayne Bergeron, Gary Smulyan and others.
“This is the first time that Ashland University has won such an award and it is also very important to note that we were able to do so against schools with graduate students, schools with Jazz Studies majors, and schools with band members much older than our students,” said Scott Garlock, director of the Ashland University Jazz Orchestra and associate professor of music. “This is quite an accomplishment, and one that should aid our recruiting efforts substantially.”
Garlock acknowledged three of the soloists who were recognized for their efforts as outstanding soloists at the festival. These included Aaron Hill, a sophomore music student from Mansfield, Ohio, on drums; Chris Simmons, a junior music education student from Mingo Junction, on trombone; and Jim Slike, a junior music education instrument major from Madison, on trombone.
Garlock also noted a couple of the comments from the judges.
“One judge, Gary Smulyan, said ‘What a powerhouse band you have. I feel your energy and power in the balcony! You have an absolutely amazing brass section. Thanks for an exciting set of music.’," Garlock said. “Another judge, Mike Davis, noted, ‘Love the energy and the big sound. Great performance. Well prepared and rehearsed.’"
Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.