Local music fans can look forward to March 16th. That’s when the University of West Georgia will host the 33rd Annual Sun Belt Jazz Festival. This is the first year that the UWG Director of Jazz Studies, Dr. Ben Geyer, is in charge of running the program.
Commenting on his first year, Geyer said, “It is my first year taking over the Sun Belt Jazz Festival from my predecessor, Dan Bakos. He’s been running the jazz ensemble for a lot longer than 33 years. I have taken it over and this year we are going to have a guest artist, Reginald Chapman. He is a fantastic musician and someone that I played with for a full summer in 2008 in Virginia.”
The concert will culminate the week of collaboration between Chapman and UWG. Throughout the week, students will participate in clinics on improvisation, performance, and composition. The concert will feature compositions and arrangements by Geyer, Chapman, and UWG students.
Geyer expressed his excitement about sharing jazz with the public, “Jazz is a really funky and groovy kind of music. It is a different kind of groove from say Earth Wind and Fire, but it is still a really funk, groovy music. That really is the number one thing that I try to teach my students about it. You can come to a jazz concert and really just enjoy the beats. You can move to it and dance along to it. you can listen to all the different details that are happening but you can also just sit back and let the music wash over you.”
Tickets for the concert are $11 for general admission, $7 for seniors, $5 for non-UWG students, and free for UWG students.