Conservatory Students Showcase Talent at Jazz Night at The Folly

Jazz Studies Co-Coordinator Bobby Watson to serve next as UMKC ambassador
Surrounded by instruments and music stands, Bobby Watson leads students through their next piece

Jazz students at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance put on a lively show at the annual Jazz Night performance at the Folly Theater in downtown Kansas City.

Bobby Watson and Mitch Butler, co-coordinators, led the students through several pieces that showcased the caliber of the Jazz Studies program. Christian Swan, senior, says the event is one he will never forget.

“As a graduating senior, this event has provided me with the opportunity to play in one of the premiere theaters in Kansas City,” Swan says. “Jazz Night at The Folly has given me the chance to play on the same stage as some of my heroes and create music in an environment that prepares me for a career in performing.”

For many of those students, Bobby Watson, a world-renowned jazz musician, is one of those heroes. At the event, Watson announced he will spend his last year (the upcoming 2019-2020 academic year) as the William D. and Mary Grant/Missouri Professor of Jazz Studies and co-coordinator of Jazz Studies serving as a Global Jazz Ambassador for UMKC. During this time, he will travel and perform throughout the world, promoting UMKC, The Conservatory, and the Jazz Studies Program.

“We are grateful to UMKC leadership for supporting Bobby in this ambassadorship,” says UMKC Conservatory Dean Diane Petrella. “This is the perfect way for an artist of his caliber to celebrate twenty years of commitment to jazz in Kansas City.”

Here's a behind-the-scenes look at Jazz Night 2019.

students on the street, carrying their gear in

Watson and Butler greet each other before the event

Butler talks to a student while setting up for the performance

student play in the box seats at the theater

Watson performs on the saxophone

“Jazz Night at The Folly has given me the chance to play on the same stage as some of my heroes and create music in an environment that prepares me for a career in performing.”
– Christian Swan, senior

Butler conducts during one of the pieces

A jazz piano student closes his eyes and gets lost in the music

close-up of a jazz bassist enjoying playing

jazz trumpeter hitting a high note

two cellists playing side-by-side

Bobby smiles as a saxophone student plays

“This is the perfect way for an artist of his caliber to celebrate twenty years of commitment to jazz in Kansas City.”

 

– Dean Diane Petrella on Watson's new role as ambassador

backstage with students after the show


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