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A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Putting It All Together

This Workshop and Festival takes place each year in the last week of July. The preliminary planning meetings for the following year between Artistic Director Bud Shank, and the Centrum staff begin as early as September of the preceding year. Suggestions from this meeting are brought to the table at a subsequent gathering of the Advisory Committee, comprised of musicians, media, jazz faculty, and other interested parties. During this meeting many ideas surface as to potential artists for the festival and verifying faculty. A third meeting is then held with the Program Coordinator in which a preliminary budget is outlined.

At that point, Bud Shank begins making calls to artists and their representatives lining up faculty and guest artists for the festival main stage and clubs. This booking process can extend clear into March of the same year. At the same time, Centrum is producing the workshop and festival brochures, lining up publicity, securing sponsorships, and evaluating students who apply for scholarship assistance. Class and performance schedules are firmed up, and mailings are done to schools, universities, and private teachers.

The week itself finally arrives, with the usual flurry of last-minute cancellations by headliners, lost charts, derailed faculty, missing drums, and on and on. Somehow it all comes together, and the park grounds ring with twenty combos practicing all at the same time, clumps of students talking about jazz, singers yelling at their rhythm sections, and lots of laughter. Then the big guns roll in and the Festival begins, with performances in the clubs over three nights and Sunday morning, and on the main stage Friday night, and Saturday afternoon and night. Every year a party is held for the faculty and guest artists, giving many old friends a chance to sit down and visit away from the hustle and bustle of the performance venue.

To sum up, it isn't easy, but it's worth it!


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