Music and mentorship work well together — and not just because of the alliteration.
Student musicians will receive a hearty helping of both this weekend courtesy of the 2015 Penn State Jazz Festival, which kicked off Friday and will continue into Saturday evening.
The event was organized by the student chapter of the International Association for Jazz Education and hosted by the Penn State School of Music.
Featuring several visiting jazz artists, the festival is an opportunity for students to both learn and play with professional musicians who are living their dream.
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“It’s one of the highlights of the year,” said Dan Yoder, director of jazz studies at Penn State.
Yoder is the director of Centre Dimensions, a 20-piece jazz ensemble at Penn State that will close out the festival Saturday night with a gala performance alongside visiting artists John Fedchock, Jim Snidero, Steve Rudolph, Joshua Davis and faculty member Marko Marcinko.
Audiences are invited to attend the performance, which will begin at 8 p.m. in Esber Recital Hall.
“The fact that students have hands on experience with real professionals — it’s a great learning experience,” Yoder said.
On Friday, students took master classes with saxophonist Snidero and trombonist Fedchock, discussing the tenets of improvisation and strategies to succeed in the music business.
“It’s great to see real world applications and to see these people do what they love for a living,” Patrick Feher, a sophomore and festival co-organizer, said.
The festival will also provide a platform for Penn State’s other student jazz ensembles, Outer Dimensions and Inner Dimensions, who will play at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. respectively in Esber Recital Hall.
Admission to the 8 p.m. final gala performance will cost $2 for students and $4.99 for general audiences.