OBU will host the Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra in concert Thursday, April 23, at 7 p.m. The concert will take place in Raley Chapel's Potter Auditorium on the OBU campus in Shawnee. The Dale High School Jazz Band will open the show followed by the OBU Bison Jazz Orchestra. The concert is presented by OBU's Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts.Purchase your ticket(s) online.
The Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra is directed by Mike Vax and includes alumni from the 1956-78 Stan Kenton Orchestras along with other talented musicians. After a storied 23 year history of performances, tours and educational clinics, The Stan Kenton Alumni Band changed its name to the Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra in 2014. The new name better reflects the band's desire to continue the musical and educational legacy that Stan Kenton worked so hard to present, while striving to reach younger audiences as well as older fans.
While they perform some of the well-known music of the Stan Kenton Orchestra, the band honors Kenton's insistence on not just performing "the old hits," which he often referred to as "nostalgia type music." Vax, former lead trumpeter and road manager with Kenton, said, "We have an entire library of fresh new material written in the Kenton style, as well as original material written by members of the current band. We are not trying to be the Stan Kenton Orchestra, but we are working to carry on his tradition of dedication to creative music and to jazz education."
Leader Mike Vax grew up in Oakland, California, and graduated from Oakland High School in 1960. He has led a big band off and on since his days at College of the Pacific over 45 years ago. A few of his credits include being first trumpet, soloist and road manager of the Stan Kenton Orchestra, as well as being co-leader while Mr. Kenton was recovering from surgery; leading the Dukes of Dixieland in New Orleans; producing and/or music directing for over 40 jazz festivals; and performing workshops for more than 2500 high schools, colleges and universities all over the world. He is an International artist for the Getzen Company. Mike now lives in northern Arizona and still travels on the road over six months a year.
"The goals of the band are to perform meaningful music, talk about the importance of the jazz heritage in America, bring jazz music to young people, and to offer our audiences a relaxed, entertaining atmosphere," Vax said.
Band personnel for the 2015 spring tour include Kim Richmond, Pete Gallio, Rick Condit, Phil Hilger and Joel Kaye on saxophone; Scott Whitfield, Dale DeVoe, Dave Keim, Kenny Shroyer and Rich Bullock on trombone; Mike Vax, Dennis Noday, Brian O'Flarhety, Steve Huffsteter and Jonathan Dane on trumpet; Charlie Ferguson on piano; Jennifer Leitham on bass; Gary Hobbs on drums; Dee Huffsteter on Latin percussion; and Scott Whitfield and Ginger Berglund on vocals.
"Friends of Big Band Jazz" is the support group for the Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra. This nonprofit corporation sends students to summer jazz camps on scholarships, donates funds to high school music programs and youth orchestras, and raises money for many good causes relating to music and education. They also sponsor the Prescott Jazz Summit, which brings students and professional musicians together for performances and workshops.
Tickets are on sale now for $10 each. School groups of 10 or more may purchase tickets at a group rate of $5 each. Purchase your ticket(s) online.