Donation funds new educational opportunity for University musicians

MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State University jazz students will once again have the opportunity to attend the prestigious Elmhurst Jazz Festival in February. Thanks to a generous gift from the Doran Foundation of Murray, students will observe and learn from professional musicians at the festival hosted by Elmhurst College in Illinois.

The Murray State Jazz Orchestra has attended and competed at past iterations of the festival, which is the longest-running college jazz band festival in the country. The orchestra will be attending for the fourth time since 2011 under director of jazz studies and associate professor of music Dr. Todd Hill, with previous band performances in the 1970s under the late Prof. Ray Conklin.

University students will perform for some of the biggest names in jazz today, who will offer critiques and recognize their favorite acts of the national festival.

“We are very grateful to the Doran Foundation and the Doran family for sponsoring our students for this special trip and performance at the 53rd annual Elmhurst College Jazz Festival,” said Murray State President Dr. Bob Jackson. “It is a tremendous honor for Murray State to be invited to the premier collegiate jazz festival in the country. Most importantly, I’m very proud of our students who will gain tremendous personal and professional experience due to the generosity of the Doran Foundation.”

Murray State University jazz students will once again have the opportunity to attend the prestigious Elmhurst Jazz Festival in February. Students and University officials are pictured after the announcement from Murray State President Dr. Bob Jackson (back right).

“This is one of the most hard-working and goal-oriented bands I have ever had the privilege to direct,” said Hill. “They make my day challenging and exceptionally rewarding. The support of our administration at Murray State is humbling, and this gift from the Doran family is as well. This festival presents such an incredible opportunity for the students to get feedback from several of the most outstanding clinicians and artists we have in jazz today.” 

The jazz program at Murray State University is designed to present the highest level of performance in the idiom while providing a framework of strategies for the aspiring music educator. All types of jazz are explored, including swing, latin and rock styles. Students demonstrate their work at performances throughout the academic year.

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