ULM hosts 3rd annual Jazz Clinic and Festival

Nicholas Soirez

ULM welcomed students and community members to a day of music performances, celebrating its third annual Jazz Clinic and Festival on Saturday in Brown Auditorium.  

Eric Siereveld, director of the ULM Jazz Ensemble, spearheaded the event. Previously, this event was only a clinic, meaning the ensemble would bring in a professional and feature them in a concert, according to Siereveld. 

But this year, the event has also become a jazz festival, making it the first jazz festival in northern Louisiana. 

The jazz festival allowed several student musicians from other universities and high schools across Louisiana to get on stage and play.

One member of ULM’s Jazz Ensemble who plays the double bass, Chris Dugas, said, “These festivals give more of a reason for high schools to keep pushing jazz, and because they keep supporting jazz like that, it keeps the art alive.” 

The guest speaker and musician for the event was John Fedchock, a world-class trombone soloist and jazz composer who is critically acclaimed as one of the finest jazz artists in the country.  

Fedchock had a masterclass on stage where he discussed ways to practice jazz and become successful as a jazz player. He also took questions from eager students in the audience. 

The school performances continued for another two hours after, with Fedchock coming on the stage to mentor the students about their playing. 

At 7:30 p.m., ULM’s own Jazz Ensemble took the stage as their concert began. The pieces played were Fedchock’s works composed throughout the years. 

Fedchock performed with the ULM Jazz Ensemble, showcasing his awe-inspiring mastery of the trombone in playing the solo sections of his pieces.  

Fedchock emphasizes the importance of jazz education and how it has improved over the years. 

“There’s been a lot more people graduating with degrees in jazz,” Fedchock said. “They really understand the music well, and now they’re all in college teaching jobs, so the students are getting more informed teachings of the material than my generation.” 

The Jazz Clinic and Festival allowed more students to have a chance to perform jazz and become more in touch with the art. 

This ambitious project was stalled due to COVID-19, but thanks to the inclusion of other high schools and colleges, the event is set to grow into something greater. 

“The hope is to keep growing this so the festival gets bigger, so it turns into a two-day event or a weekend event,” Siereveld said.