The 16th Annual Gene Harris Jazz Festival will be on campus this Wednesday and Thursday in the Student Union Building. It will be featuring the Gene Harris Festival Superband, the Boise State Big Band as well as 30 Idaho Student
Gene Harris, who died in 2000, had a connection with Boise for a while according to senior Jeremy Stewart, who majors in music composition and also is a part of the Boise State Big Band.
“Gene Harris has a past of coming to Boise,” Stewart said. “From moving here and kind of falling in love with Boise to bringing jazz to a community that otherwise didn’t have models to learn from.”
Stewart said after Gene Harris passed, a respect was paid to him by keeping the Gene Harris Jazz Festival going for “everything he did for jazz and jazz education.”
The festival itself will be an all-day event which will last from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day and will consist of a variety of things throughout the day.
Each day of the schedule begins with school bands performing and then, during those performances, there will also be jazz workshops.
After that, there will be performances by the Boise State Big Band, the winning school bands and the Gene Harris Festival Superband. According to Stewart, students have much to look forward to.
“They (the students) can look forward to seeing some of the best local and nationwide musicians that there is to offer,” Stewart said. “They can look forward to live music, education and a lot of fun.”
Peggy Sewell, a freshman majoring in music education who plays the baritone saxophone in the Boise State Big Band, said there is a large variety in what is being performed.
“Smooth jazz, rough jazz, jazz on the rocks,” she said. “Festival-goers can expect to hear many varieties of jazz, including swing, Latin, funk and many more.”
Sewell also said this year the performers will be playing pieces that have not been heard by the public in almost 20 years.
Stewart said there is a lot of hard music which is being played this year, but he believes it has benefitted the Boise State Big Band as a whole.
“They decided to challenge us, and as a result I think that we have probably had one of the best bands we have had in the last three to four years,” Stewart said.
Passes can be obtained online or at the SUB during the festival.