Jazz Band I Heads To China

Courtesy of
Media Services

(Photo Courtesy of Media Services)

(Photo Courtesy of Media Services)

MONTICELLO — By the time their fellow students at the University of Arkansas at Monticello head to class Thursday morning, the musicians who comprise UAM’s Jazz Band I will have flown nearly 7,500 miles to Shanghai, China.

The group is scheduled to arrive at Shanghai International Airport Thursday afternoon on the first leg of a 14-day concert tour that will include nine performances and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to soak up the sights and sounds of a country and culture most Americans will never see. “This is a wonderful experience for our students,” said Gary Meggs, director of Jazz Band I and head of the UAM jazz program. “They are extremely excited about the opportunity, not only to perform, but to be able to tour the country and see things most Americans never have the opportunity to see.”

Sadly for Meggs, he will not be making the trip due to recent ear surgery that has him grounded from air travel for the foreseeable future. In his absence, Jazz Band I will be directed by C. E. Askew with assistance from Les Pack and John Webb.

Jazz Band I received the invitation to tour China after performing at the Midwest Jazz Clinic in Chicago. Representatives from the U.S.-China Cultural Exchange attended the event looking for one concert band and one jazz band to perform in China. “They were pretty much blown away by our performance,” said Meggs.

The group’s first performance is scheduled for Friday, March 21 at the Shaoxing Grand Theatre Concert Hall in Shaoxing City after a morning tour of the city. The band will then bus to Hangzhou, the capital of the Zhejiang Province, for a tour of the city and an evening performance at the Hangzhou Theatre Hall.

The band will then fly to Guangzhou, capital of the Guangdong Province, for a tour and performance at the Guangzhou Concert Hall before performances at Dali College on March 25 and at KunmingCollege in March 26. A tour of Kunming, capital of the Yunnan Province, will precede a performance at the Kunming Arts Theatre on March 27.

Other performances are scheduled for the Guiyang Arts Theatre on March 28, the Grande Jingcheng Arts Center in Chengdu, capital of the Sichuan Province, on March 29, and in Luodai on March 30. The band will fly to Beijing on March 31 where they will visit the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square before flying back to the United States April 1.

“This trip is a great tribute to our jazz program and the wonderful musicians who comprise Jazz Band I,” said Chancellor Jack Lassiter. “I am sorry Mr. Meggs will be unable to make the trip, but this is a proud moment for him and all that he has

For more information, contact the UAM Division of Music at (870) 460-1060.

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