MSU Professors of Jazz kick off the 2013-14 academic year in jazzy style

The MSU Professors of Jazz will celebrate the opening of the 2013-14 academic year on Wednesday, Aug. 28, at 7:30 p.m. Taking the stage at Wharton Center’s Pasant Theatre, special guest vocalist Mardra Thomas will join the professors for an outstanding night of jazz.

Ms. Thomas, who is recognized for her realistic portrayal of Billie Holiday, lends her theatrical and musical talents to tour internationally with big band and small ensemble groups. Most recently, she mesmerized audiences at the Lansing Jazz Festival in August.

The Professors of Jazz, faculty members of MSU’s jazz studies program, are internationally renowned artists and have extensive experience performing with top musicians in the jazz community. Members of the ensemble include Etienne Charles, trumpet; Michael Dease, trombone; Randy Gelispie, drums; Perry Hughes, guitar; Diego Rivera, saxophone; Reginald Thomas, piano; and Director of Jazz Studies Rodney Whitaker, bass.

“Our professors are eager to kick off the school year and welcome our new students into the college,” says Whitaker. “This concert has become a tradition for our faculty, students, and the entire community to get back together after a summer of traveling and performing. We have a great year of exciting programming planned, and this concert will set the tone for what is to come.”

Doug and Ginny Jewell and Patrick and Victoria McPharlin generously sponsor the concert.

TICKETS for the concert are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and free for students and those under 18. Tickets may be purchased at the door 60 minutes before the event, online, or at 102 Music Building during business hours.

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