Jazz will be celebrated at Shepherd

Juanita Williams will headline daylong concert

Juanita Williams will headline daylong concert

February 28, 2008|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Jazz vocalist Juanita Williams will perform Saturday, capping off a day of jazz at Shepherd University.

Williams will sing with backing from Shepherd's jazz ensemble at the Frank Arts Center Theater. It is the fifth concert in an ongoing series coordinated by the music department's nonprofit fundraising arm, Friends of Music.

Critics have compared Williams's voice to Aretha Franklin's and describe her sound as bluesy.

Saturday's concert coincides with the Eastern Regional Jazz Festival, a daylong middle and high school jazz competition open to student jazz ensembles in the Eastern Panhandle, said J.P. Lynch, the festival's chair and band director at Martinsburg South Middle School.

Williams will lead a workshop and will give a mini-performance at the Frank Center Theater during the day, said Mark McCoy, chair of Shepherd's music department.


"(Jazz) is arguably America's only indigenous art form," McCoy said.

As with past years, the public is welcome to watch the high school bands perform and is invited to participate in the workshop and view the mini-show - for free.

The first student band goes on at 9 a.m. and the last one is scheduled for 3:30 p.m., Lynch said. McCoy said Williams will perform with Shepherd's jazz ensemble at 4 p.m.

Lynch said 400 to 500 spectators, mostly parents and students, attended past festivals over the course of the day.

McCoy said the evening concert, for which tickets cost $15, draws the biggest general public crowd.

At the evening concert, Williams will perform jazz standards - "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong and "Every Day I Have the Blues" by Count Basie - and some more contemporary music by Al Jarreau, Aretha Franklin and Vanessa Williams.

McCoy said Juanita Williams has performed at Shepherd before, and the university's jazz ensemble toured with her.

The series continues Saturday, March 15, with a performance by the Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra, a new professional orchestra in Shepherdstown.

If you go ...

WHAT: Eastern Regional Jazz Festival concert with special guest Juanita Williams

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, March 1

WHERE: Frank Arts Center Theater, on the campus of Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, W.Va.

COST: $15, general admission. Free for students with a Rambler Card.

MORE: For tickets, call 304-876-5555 or go to

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