NIU Jazz Lab Band Takes First Place at Noted Festival

On Friday, April 16, the NIU Jazz Lab Band, under the direction of NIU School of Music faculty member Rodrigo Villanueva, won the First Place at the 43rd University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Jazz Festival (in the category of College Big Bands competition).

In addition, most of the soloists of the Jazz Lab Band earned a certificate for their outstanding performance. The following are the NIU students that were recognized as the outstanding soloists:

Jacob Slocum: Bari Saxophone
Andrew Szymanek: Flugelhorn
Kyle Stephens: Piano
Natalie Scharf: Tenor Saxophone
Joel Ream: Guitar

This year's UW-Eau Claire festival included competition from ten additional collegiate big bands. Perhaps most notable is that the Jazz Lab Band this year is comprised of 50% freshmen!

Congratulations to Rodrigo and our students.

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