The jazz program at Illinois Wesleyan University is open to all students and features interested jazz students from a variety of departments across the University. Started by Dr. Tom Streeter (retired), the Jazz Program at IWU is currently under the direction of Prof. Glenn Wilson. Recent tours have included Nashville, Boston, New York, Italy, Phoenix, the Bahamas, and Japan, and recent guest artists have included Ed Calle, Steve Wiest, and Chris Vadala.
The IWU Jazz Festival began in 1976 as an opportunity for junior high and high school ensembles to bolster the level of jazz they offer at their schools by participating in a non-competitive festival.
Only proven, exceptional jazz educators are hired to adjudicate at the IWU Jazz Festival. The comments received from the adjudicators about the group performance are important, but the most significant aspect of the festival is the chance for each student to attend a separate clinic related to their individual instrument, given by outstanding clinicians such as Chip Stephens, Ed Calle, or Steve Wiest. Participating students have the opportunity to sit at the feet of these jazz masters, an opportunity which is hoped will assist each student's overall playing abilities.
In it's 44th year of operation, the IWU Jazz Festival will welcome ensembles from all over the Midwest and beyond for a day of education, performance and fun.