Four decades of Illinois Wesleyan jazz to
be celebrated with several alumni events

The School of Music is celebrating 40 years of jazz at Illinois Wesleyan with several special events that also honor Professor Tom Streeter, who founded Wesleyan’s jazz program and is retiring next year.

Professor of Music Tom Streeter

The events kick off with a Jazz Bands reunion at Homecoming 2010. At 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8., alumni bands from each decade of Streeter’s career will perform at the Hansen Student Center. The reunion bands will play again Saturday evening for a cocktail reception preceding the reunion dinners at the Memorial Center’s Joslin Atrium. (Rehearsals for the reunion bands’ performances will be held Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.) The current IWU Jazz Ensemble, under Streeter’s direction and featuring guest alumni soloists, will perform for after-dinner dancing.

“All former jazzers are encouraged to attend the Homecoming jazz reunion even it they do not plan to play,” Streeter adds.

Guest soloists at the 36th Annual Jazz Festival on Jan. 22 will include Grammy-nominated composer/trombonist Steve Wiest, who was a featured performer and arranger for the Maynard Ferguson Band. Streeter launched the festival in 1976 to encourage junior high and high school ensembles to upgrade the level of jazz they offer at their schools by participating in a non-competitive festival that includes clinics with exceptional jazz educators and performers from around the country.

During spring break in March 2011, Streeter is tentatively planning an extended tour of the student Jazz Ensemble, including performances in New York City and Boston.

The yearlong celebration culminates in April. Charles Vernon, principal bass trombonist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, will give a master class at Illinois Wesleyan on Thursday, April 14, and then perform that evening at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts with the Illinois Wesleyan Civic Orchestra.

On Friday, April 15, Streeter estimates that “as many as 50 to 75” alumni trombonists will return to campus for a special all-trombone concert at 7:30 p.m. at Westbrook Auditorium in Presser Hall. A reception hosted by the IWU McLean County Alumni Association will follow at 9 p.m. The alumni performing in this “trombone choir,” conducted by Streeter, will rehearse for the performance earlier in the day.

Alumni who want to participate in or learn more about these events can contact the Alumni Office at (309) 556-3251, toll-free (888) IWU-ALUM or e-mail iwualum@iwu.edu. Those wishing to participate in the trombone weekend event in April may contact Streeter via e-mail at tstreet@iwu.edu, or by phone at (309) 556-3269. If you are on or live en route to the East Coast and would like for the Jazz Ensemble to perform in your area during its March tour, contact Streeter directly to see if you can be added to its itinerary.

Click here to return to our feature on Amy McCabe '01 of the U.S. Marine Band.