Elon Jazz Festival happening today, Saturday

By Patrick Larsen

Elon University is hosting its annual jazz festival today, Feb. 17, and tomorrow, Feb. 18. The Festival will mostly take place in McCrary Theater in the Center for the Arts.

Rusty Smith is directing this year’s festival for the first time.

Rusty Smith

Smith sat down for an interview about this year’s festival.

“We’ll have a dozen bands play on Friday the 17 and we have a couple of guest artists in: trombonist Rick Simerly and bassist Elisa Pruett,” said Smith.

“We’ll get up Friday morning and come listen to these bands perform and give comments,” Smith continued, “and try to help them get their game together a little bit.”

“I’m not exactly sure what everyone’s major is, but I believe most of them have something to do with the Music Department,” said Smith. “And then we have a couple of community members that play with the band and we’ve asked a couple of faculty members to come play.”

Smith said that there are high school and middle school bands coming from all over the state, making the event a big recruitment opportunity for the Music Department.

This is Smith’s first time conducting for the Jazz Festival.

“I conducted the band in the spring semester two years ago,” said Smith, “but I had a prior commitment and had to miss the jazz festival. I’m really hoping I don’t screw it all up.”

At this, Smith laughed at himself.

“Seems to be going pretty well.”

The Festival is free of charge. The schedule is can be found here.

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