July 1, 2024

Alumni of Criterions Jazz Ensemble Return to WCU’s Campus to Perform FREE Public Concert on July 18Criterions Alumni Concert

 For the past 38 years, alumni of the Criterions Jazz Ensemble out of WCU’s Wells School of Music reunite each summer to reminisce, share meals, and rehearse and perform a FREE summer concert that has become a beloved and much-anticipated annual tradition. FREE and open to the public, the concert takes place on Thursday, July 18, at 7 p.m., in the Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, Philips Memorial Building, 700 S. High Street, West Chester. The concert will also be available via live stream at www.vimeo.com/wsom.

This year’s concert theme celebrates the 50th anniversary of the class of 1974. Jazz standards from the 70’s will be prominently featured, including selections from 70’s icon Buddy Rich and other big band repertoire.

Some participating alumni and musicians have gone on to illustrious careers in music. Notable this year is that Founder Lee Southall celebrates the 60th anniversary of his WCU commencement. WCU Director of Jazz Studies and saxophonist Jonathan Ragonese, a musician who plays throughout the tri-state area, will join the group.

Director of the Alumni Criterions Jazz Ensemble Dave DiValentino says, “Being a member of the Criterions Jazz Ensemble during my time at WCU is one of my fondest memories. I speak for all of us when I say that returning to WCU to play some of the best jazz ever written and performing with high-caliber musicians from across the generations is a highlight of our summer.”

DiValentino adds, “As much as we love to play together, the concert is also a treat for local audiences who get to enjoy great jazz music for free.”

The Criterions are one of the longest-running University jazz bands in the country. Originating in the 1920s, they were a student-led ballroom dance band and provided entertainment for University dances, proms and post-Friday night games. As times changed, the “Crites” became a Faculty-led Jazz Ensemble by the early 1980’s, when the School of Music began Jazz curricula. They are known for their mastery of American popular songs and jazz standards from the early 20th century.  


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