Eau Claire Jazz Festival Brings Musicians Together
UWS Music Students Attend Festival and Experience Jazz Community
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. – The Eau Claire Jazz Festival has brought musicians together for the last 51 years. And for some UW-Superior jazz players, that interaction has been key to them discovering the power of music.
“I can’t think of a better example of an event that has pushed me to be the musician that I am,” says UWS music student Nicholas Muska.
The festival features dozens of performances, and a competition for middle school, high school, and collegiate bands.
“Walk in and out of different venues, experience different bands from around town,” says Eau Claire Jazz Inc. Project Manager Amanda Halek. “It’s a really fun time.”
“Let’s face it, jazz music has struggled commercially and anything we can do to get the music out and to spread the word, especially to enhance a scene like is going on in Eau Claire right now, any way we can be a part of that is just awesome,” says UWS Music Professor Greg Moore.
“UW-Superior, even though we’re a small college, we can actually, we hang with the best of them here,” says Muska.
“It gives a big goal to concentrate on as far as really getting our material ready for a public performance,” says Moore.
But more than that, it’s an opportunity for musicians to come together.
“Especially in our neck of the woods, Superior being kind of isolated, we don’t always get to go out and meet with other musicians, other jazz musicians specificially,” says Muska.
“It’s really a huge communal process and I think, because of the nature of that process, it just brings everyone closer,” says Halek.
Learning from each other and creating something magical.
“The musicians here are all just such great examples of how to conduct yourself,” says Muska. “They seem so at peace and they seem like they’re just so driven.”
“There are so many opportunities for students here to learn about jazz but then to also use that to learn about themselves, and I think that that’s really a gift that we can give to younger musicians,” says Halek. “That’s something that I want to be a part of.”
This year, the festival featured Doc Severinsen, the former band leader from the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
Having the legendary trumpet player in town personalized his music for students.
“You get in your little tiny circle in your small town and you don’t really know who else is out there, and I guess that’s what I like about this is I get to see where I’m at in comparison to other musicians,” says Muska.
And bringing all in attendance back in the swing of jazz.
“This is one of those bright spots where you can say it’s becoming a community activity here to go out and listen to jazz,” says Moore.
“We make music because of making relationships with other musicians and that’s really what jazz has always been grounded in,” says Halek.
Some students have been learning from the best at the Eau Claire Jazz Festival for decades and can feel what music has brought to their lives.