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 SRU musicians take top honors at Chicago jazz festival 




March 9, 2009

Contact: K.E. Schwab  




SRU musicians take top honors at Chicago jazz festival


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The Slippery Rock University Jazz Ensemble and the SRU Jazz Combo I traveled to Chicago's Elmhurst Collegiate Jazz Festival over spring break and brought home 12 Outstanding Awards, including being named the festival's Outstanding Combo.

           Stephen Hawk, professor of music, directs the ensemble. Jeremy Long, assistant professor of music, directs the combo. The combo won its award in its first-ever festival appearance.

           Judges for the event included a number of widely recognized jazz musicians and educators, including Denis DiBlasio, saxophone, Wayne Bergeron, trumpet, and Steve Weist,trombone. 

           Judge comments included, "Wow!  Fantastic Band!"; "Band sounds great!"; "Nice authentic groove; Great to hear! Whole band sounded exciting!" and "You are doing all the right things."

           SRU students recognized as Outstanding Soloists were: Will Weltman, trumpet from New Castle; Mark Dressler, trombone, from Erie; Brady Amerson, tenor sax, from Butler; Aaron Gratzmiller, tenor sax, from Pittsburgh; John Anthony, guitar, from New Castle; Jake McKinney, alto sax, from Mars; Evan Brown, drums, from Mars; and, Philip Raffle, bass, from Cranberry Township.


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.

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