TROY Vocal Jazz Invitational brings 'world class instruction' to 150 students for free

Posted: Friday, 04 March 2016

TROY - More than 150 students from six schools will converge at Troy University's Troy Campus for the second annual Vocal Jazz Invitational on March 16 and 17.

The event, sponsored by the John M. Long School of Music and the Troy University Choral Department, will bring students from six schools of varying grade levels to participate in clinics by award-winning jazz performers, arrangers and educators Kerry Marsh and Julia Dollison.

Marsh and Dollison will work with TROY's vocal jazz ensemble, Frequency, on March 16, then work with the visiting schools in 30-minute individual clinics the next day.

"These are professional working musicians, but they're also teachers, so these students are being exposed to the best of the best," said Dr. Diane Orlofsky, TROY's director of choirs. "They're excellent teachers, they're fun to be around, the kids love them and they're very knowledgeable."

Thanks to several grants, the event is entirely free to participating schools.

Funding sources include the Herb Albert Foundation and the Jazz2U program of the Jazz Education Network, the John M. Long School of Music, the Office of Sponsored Programs and the Phi Mu Alpha Iota Nu Chapter.

Last year's inaugural event featured about 90 high school students, but this year it's been expanded to include middle schools and even a community college.

"They're getting world class instruction for nothing," said Orlofsky, who also said the invitational benefits the University. "We bring their students to our campus and they are always impressed with our facilities and our Steinways. Many of these students have never stepped foot on our campus. This event is an excellent recruiting tool."

Marsh is a composer and arranger specializing in contemporary music for vocal jazz ensembles. In high demand as a commissioned arranger for many of the nation's top educational vocal and instrumental jazz ensembles, Marsh is a member of the jazz studies faculty at The University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, where he directs Northern Colorado Voices and Vocal Jazz Ensemble 1.

A classically trained soprano, Dollison teaches applied jazz voice at the University of Northern Colorado. She has performed as a guest soloist under the direction of symphony conductors Michael Tilson Thomas with the New World Symphony as the featured soloist in Leonard Bernstein's "Chichester Psalms" and Erich Kunzel with the Naples Philharmonic's Duke Ellington/Hoagy Carmichael Centennial Concert Series.

Schools participating in this year's invitational include:

  • Auburn Junior High
  • Dothan High School
  • Beverlye Magnet
  • Snead State Community College
  • Houston Academy
  • Enterprise High School.