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UNI's Bob Washut concludes 22-year career as Jazz Band One director

April 15, 2002
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John Vallentine, director, UNI School of Music, (319) 273-2024
Bob Washut, UNI professor of jazz studies, (319) 273-6431
Vicki Grimes, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- After 22 years as director of the award-winning Jazz Band One, Bob Washut, University of Northern Iowa professor of music, is stepping down. 'Celebrate Washut' will be the theme for the UNI Jazz Band One concert, part of the UNI School of Music Spotlight Series, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 19, in the Great Hall of the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center.

Washut will continue to teach, plan new curriculum and complete other educational projects, according to John Vallentine, director of the UNI School of Music. Washut also will conduct Jazz Band II. Chris Merz, UNI associate professor of music, will take over Washut's duties directing Jazz Band One and the jazz studies program.

The concert will be highlighted by the appearance of several UNI alumni and the premier performance of Washut's 'Basso Urnesto.' Paul McKee of Kansas City, who received a bachelor of music degree from UNI in 1980, will be guest trombonist and composer/arranger.

Guest composer on the program will be J.C. Sanford of Flushing, N.Y., a 1994 graduate with a B.A. degree in music.

Washut took the reins of UNI's jazz program in 1980. By January of 1982, the band had been named the number one college band in the nation by the National Association of Jazz Educators. In 1985, the band made its first trip overseas, performing in Neuchatel, Switzerland, and at Montreux.

Jazz Band One has made subsequent trips abroad and performed at prestigious festivals in the United States and overseas. The band has a dozen CDs to its credit, with two receiving five-star ratings from Downbeat magazine during the '90s, the only collegiate jazz ensemble to be so honored in that decade.

Tickets for the concert are available by calling (319) 273-SHOW (7469). Cost is $6 for adults, $5 for senior citizens and $4 for students or admission with a current Panther Pass.

The Department of Residence Dining Services, will host 'Jazz Escapade' from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Piazza in Redeker Center, with a special menu and music. The event is open to the public at $6.90 per person.

These events are part of UNI's annual 'Arts in April' celebration. For a full listing of events, see the UNI Web site at www.uni.edu.