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Annual Charles Mingus Festival and High School Competition Returns in February

Jazzed Magazine • News • January 9, 2019

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From Saturday, February 16, to Sunday, February 17, 2019, high school students from across the United States will celebrate the music of the great jazz bassist and composer Charles Mingus as a part of the 11th Annual Charles Mingus Festival and High School Competition, taking place at The New School of Jazz and at Jazz Standard. The event is organized and presented by Dr. Keller Coker and The New School of Jazz, and by Sue Mingus and Let My Children Hear Music/The Charles Mingus Institute. In categories for both big bands and combos, 12 finalist ensembles will be featured in this year’s festival. Entrants come from all over the country including California, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin.

“Charles Mingus music contains multitudes,” says Sue Mingus, who formed the first Mingus repertory group, the Mingus Dynasty, in 1979, and has overseen the performance and publishing of Mingus music ever since.

On Saturday, February 16, students will explore aspects of Mingus’s music in instrumental clinics, workshops, lectures, and films at The New School of Jazz’s Arnhold Hall at 55 West 13th Street. All events are open to the public. The day will conclude with Mingus jam sessions for finalist high school students. On Sunday, February 17, the general public may attend the Mingus Competition: a full day of concert performances by small groups and large, in Tishman Auditorium at 63 Fifth Avenue. That evening outstanding soloists from the Competition will be invited to sit in with the Mingus Big Band, which will perform all weekend at Jazz Standard, 116 East 27th Street (between Park and Lexington).

“The festival gives outstanding students around the country a chance to perform on their level and enriches their school programs,” says co-founder Justin DiCioccio. “It’s great for students to be challenged by this music and to form networks with other outstanding jazz musicians. For the serious student, these are going to be their peers for the rest of their lives.”

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