The sixth annual Bison Hill Jazz Festival is coming to the OBU campus Thursday, April 4. As part of the festivities, the OBU Bison Jazz Orchestra will host a concert that evening at 7:30 p.m. in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium. The performance will feature Grammy-nominated composer and trombonist Steve Wiest. The concert is free and open to the public, and it will include high-energy contemporary big band compositions and exciting improvisations.
The annual festival is hosted by the OBU Division of Music and consists of an educational festival for area schools during the day, culminating in an evening concert. Past guest artists have included saxophonists Kirk Whalum and Denis DiBlasio, trombonist Andre Howard and vocalist Jennifer Barnes.
The Bison Jazz Orchestra, an auditioned 20-piece jazz ensemble, is the premiere jazz ensemble of the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts Division of Music at Oklahoma Baptist University. Directed by Justin Pierce, assistant professor in instrumental music, the Bison Jazz Orchestra performs a wide variety of big band music ranging from music of the swing band era to contemporary big band works.
The ensemble performs regularly on the OBU campus, throughout the Shawnee community and beyond. Each semester, the BJO performs a Night of Jazz for the OBU community, including local musicians, swing dancing and improv sessions. In 2018, the BJO toured and performed in Russia, including the House of Culture in St. Petersburg.