U.S. Army Saxophonist to Perform at SUU's 9th Annual High School Jazz Festival

Published: February 10, 2023 | Author: Kol Gibson | Read Time: 4 minutes

 Annual Jazz Festival Concert.jpeg

Southern Utah University’s Department of Music hosts their 9th Annual High School Jazz Festival Concert featuring guest artist Michael Vance and SUU’s Jazz Ensemble 1 on Saturday, February 25, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. in the Heritage Center Theater. This concert is free and open to the public. 

The SUU Jazz Festival follows a unique format that assists high schools in preparing for their individual regional jazz events. It creates a non-competitive, positive, and supportive learning environment for jazz groups of all skill levels. Participating schools separate into three separate clinics on each chart from their setlist as well as perform their entire set for adjudication. After a long day of performing and learning, Festival participants are joined by Cedar City and SUU community members to enjoy a special concert performed by a guest artist and SUU Jazz Ensemble 1. 

This year’s guest artist, Michael Vance has recently joined SUU’s music faculty as an adjunct professor of saxophone after retiring from the United States Army after 21 years as a saxophonist in the U.S. Army Band’s premier and most elite musical organization, “Pershing’s Own.” A product of Vancouver, Washington, Vance holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Saxophone Performance and Pedagogy from Brigham Young University and a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from Indiana University, where he was an Associate Instructor. Michael Vance Head Shot with Saxophone.

In over two decades as a professional musician, Michael has performed extensively at the White House, the U.S. Capitol, and the Pentagon for the highest-ranking national and international leaders and dignitaries including King Charles III and Pope Francis, as well as Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden. In addition to his military musical chops, he has performed with numerous professional ensembles throughout the United States and in over 50 countries. Michael has been teaching saxophone and clarinet for over 30 years, as well as jazz improvisation skills to other instrumentalists. 

“Mike Vance is an amazing musician and we’re very lucky to have him with us at the Festival as well as on our SUU faculty team,” comments Dr. Adam Lambert, SUU Director of Bands and Jazz Festival organizer. “He was ‘big time’ in DC and now he is with us! The feature concert with Mike and SUU Jazz Ensemble 1 is going to be such a treat.”

The SUU Jazz Ensemble 1 is open to all students by audition, regardless of major. Students prepare and perform jazz music through ensemble and improvisational performance as close to a professional level as possible. Performances include this feature performance with the annual SUU High School Jazz Festival, an annual Swing Dance for the University and local community, as well as competing at regional Jazz Festivals including the Reno Jazz Festival in Nevada and the Greeley Jazz Festival in Colorado.

About his performance with SUU Jazz Ensemble 1, Michael Vance says, “This will be my second time as a guest artist for the SUU Jazz Festival, and it is truly an honor. These students are talented and self-driven musicians who are eager to learn. I’ve spent a lot of time with many of them, and it will be a thrill to perform together.”

The 9th Annual High School Jazz Festival Concert will include original compositions by Michael’s former colleagues in the U.S Army Band “Pershing’s Own.” “It will be a cherished privilege to perform the music of these military musicians I have worked with for so many years,” shares Vance. “They are fabulous musicians and great friends.”

Enjoy the musical expression of SUU Jazz Ensemble 1 and professional saxophonist Michael Vance on Saturday, February 25, 2023. For more information about SUU’s Department of Music, please visit www.suu.edu/pva/music.


 About the College of Performing and Visual Arts

The College of Performing and Visual Arts (CPVA) at Southern Utah University comprises 41 academic programs including liberal arts (BA/BS) and professional (BFA, BM, BMEd) degrees in art, design, dance, filmmaking, music, and theatre. It includes graduate programs in the fields of arts administration (MFA, MA), music education (MME), and music technology (MM). More than 60 full-time faculty and staff are engaged in teaching and mentoring over 900 majors in the College. CPVA presents over 100 performances, lectures, presentations, and exhibitions each year and is affiliated with the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA), Utah Shakespeare Festival, and the Center for Shakespeare Studies. Southern Utah University is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD), National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) making SUU the first public university in the state of Utah to be accredited by all four associations. For more information about the College of Performing and Visual Arts, visit www.suu.edu/pva.


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