Friday, January 3, 2014

Whitworth Jazz Ensemble to perform in Italy for eighth time

Whitworth music students maintain tradition of performing throughout the globe

The Whitworth Jazz Ensemble will perform on tour in Italy Jan. 13-26, 2014, marking the eighth time the ensemble has toured the country. The ensemble is led by Daniel Keberle, director of jazz studies and trumpet professor at Whitworth.

Whitworth music students have many opportunities to perform on tour during their time at the university. The jazz ensemble has a long history of going on international performance tours, including Jan Term trips to Cuba, Brazil, Germany and Australia. The ensemble has also toured across the nation, performing in Hawaii, New York City and New Orleans. In spring 2013, the Whitworth Choir performed at a variety of historical cathedrals in Norway.

“These tours certainly set Whitworth apart from most universities—our choir, orchestra and wind symphony also go on tour,” Keberle says, noting that alumni often comment that the jazz tours were the highlight of their Whitworth experience.

While in Italy, the jazz ensemble will play at some of the top jazz clubs in Rome, including the Music Inn, owned by Roberto Gatto, Italy’s most prestigious jazz drummer. The students will also play alongside Rosario Giuliani, a top Italian jazz saxophonist.

In addition to having the students engage with Italy’s jazz scene, Keberle explains that it is also important to immerse students in the history and culture of Italy. During the tour, students will visit numerous historical sites in Rome, Florence and Venice. To give students the opportunity to learn more deeply about and acclimate to Italy’s vibrant culture, they will spend the majority of their time stationed in Rome.

The Whitworth 2021 strategic plan calls for a significant investment by the university in high-quality teaching and performing space for the music and theatre programs. International tours are just one way Whitworth seeks to fulfill this objective. The university is currently working on an addition to the current music building that will provide greater choral-rehearsal space and a new concert hall.

“Though we are a small music department, the quality of students we attract is what you would find at the largest music programs across the country,” Keberle says. “Our students benefit from the more personal learning environment found in our classes. They also have the opportunity to learn from and work with highly talented peers, which make our performing groups exceptional.”

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.