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Ohio State School of Music looks to put on a show with its 42nd Annual Jazz Festival

Richie Castellano will headline the 42nd annual jazz festival at Ohio State this weekend. Credit: Corey Machado

The Ohio State University School of Music will have an active few days as it presents the 42nd Annual Jazz Festival, which began on Wednesday and will run through the weekend.

This year’s lineup will host numerous bands and musicians, such as Richie Castellano, John Fedchock, Xavier Davis and Ohio Jaztet, along with the university’s own Ohio State Jazz Combos, the Jazz Lab Big Band and The Ohio State University Jazz Ensemble.

The festival will have performances and jazz clinics geared toward helping high school, college students and music educators and professionals reach the next level. Jim Rupp, a jazz studies lecturer and instructor of drum set, is looking forward to the overall experience of the festival.

“It’s going to be some tremendous music being played,” he said. “There is something unique going on every night.”

One of the key performances at the festival took place on the first night with John Fedchock and the All-Star Alumni Sextet. Their performance was a celebration and reunion of the original 1979 jazz sextet.

“I’ve played with various guys over the years and everyone in their own right has had successful music careers, but this reunion should be fun and exciting,” Rupp said, who was one of the alumni to perform at the first festival more than 40 years ago.

The headlining concert this year will feature the Ohio Show Band with Richie Castellano on Saturday night. Castellano will also join the Jazz Ensemble for their last final sections during the closing concert of the festival on Sunday night.

“The point of the Show Band was to provide a commercial music experience for the students,” Shawn Wallace, director of jazz studies, said.

Wallace added that students being able to perform with professionals is special and the kind of opportunity he wants to provide for them.

Not only will Castellano have the headlining show, but he will also be at three separate clinics. Both Wallace and Rupp will also be hosting their own clinics with Wallace discussing “How to Improvise Over Chord Changes,” which is based on his book of the same title.

“It’s going to draw from material from out of the book, but the topic is to the point,” Wallace said.

Rupp will also lead a clinic titled “How to Succeed as a Musician.” Rupp said his clinic will “deal with the business side and musical aspects” of jazz.

Wallace, who first performed at the festival when he 18 years old, isn’t nervous about performing in the shows.

“I’ll always be a bit anxious, but I’m not one to get stage fright,” Wallace said. “I’ve been doing this since I was nine, so I have sort of been demystified by it.”

Wallace and Rupp will be performing alongside Xavier Davis, a renowned jazz pianist and associate professor of jazz piano at Michigan State University. Rupp praised Davis as “a tremendous pianist,” and said he is excited to play alongside him.

This festival is going to be packed with artist and bands, which is what Wallace and the School of Music want.

“Ultimately, it’s a world-class presentation,” Wallace said. “The whole festival is filled with great music and it’s going to be educational and entertaining. It’s all the things you want a performance to be. Anybody will be satisfied by attending.”

The festival will run through Sunday at Weigel Auditorium. All performances and clinics are free and open to the public. More information on the festival can be found at music.osu.edu.


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