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McPherson College Hosts Jazz Festival 
For 300 Area High School Musicians

More than 300 budding young jazz musicians gathered on the campus of McPherson College on Nov. 6 to better learn their craft.

Kyle Hopkins, band director and associate professor of music at McPherson College, said this was the first time MC has planned and hosted a jazz festival for middle school and high school students.

“This was a huge deal,” Hopkins said. “When looking at ways to bring students to campus, I remembered as a high school director that there were limited performance and festival opportunities for my jazz band in the fall. So we clearly hit the nail on the head with this event.”

The festival included 16 jazz band groups from 14 participating schools. In addition to performance, the students also had their work judged by three professionals and received feedback in workshop opportunities.

Participating high schools were: Salina Central, Salina South, Nickerson, Goddard, Smoky Valley, Newton, McPherson, Sterling, Chapman, Hesston and Abilene. Participating middle schools were Lakewood, Sterling and Chapman.

The judges for the event were Daryl Batchelor, former jazz director at Hutchinson Community College; Nick Schroeder, director of jazz studies at HCC who once played lead trumpet in the Glenn Miller Orchestra; and Rod Manges, a long-time jazz educator from the Manhattan, Kan., area.