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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 23, 2005

UI, City High Jazz Bands To Present ‘Jazz Christmas' At Englert Dec. 9

The Jazz area of the University of Iowa School of Music will present "A Jazz Christmas," featuring the Johnson County Landmark jazz band with guest soloist Rex Richardson, the UI Jazz Repertory Ensemble, and the Iowa City High School Jazz Ensemble at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9 in the Englert Theatre in downtown Iowa City.

John Rapson is director of Johnson County Landmark (JCL), Brent Sandy is director of the Jazz Repertory Ensemble (JRE) and Bill Pringle is the director of the City High Jazz Ensemble. Each of the three groups will present a set that includes jazz versions of traditional Christmas music.

Rapson said, "The program has been developed for family members of all ages with lots of familiar music and some musical 'highjinks.'"

The City High School Jazz Ensemble will open the concert with "Jingle Bells," in a jazz arrangement by Rick Stitzel. They will also perform "Africaine" by Claude Bolling and "Momentum" by Les Hooper

Based on the standard big-band instrumentation, JRE has full sections of reed, brass and rhythm instruments. Made up of students in the UI School of Music, JRE performs works by established jazz masters as well as new works by UI students and other jazz composers.

JRE will perform three traditional Christmas favorites: "Winter Wonderland," arranged by Robert Washut, the director of jazz studies at the University of Northern Iowa; Frank Loesser's "Baby, It's Cold Outside," arranged by Alan Glascock' and "The Little Drummer Boy Davis," arranged by Washut.

JCL is the UI's ensemble devoted to the performance of original works by the great composers of the big-band jazz repertory. Consisting of the best jazz players at the School of Music, JCL is known for picking up the prizes at jazz festivals and contests around the country.

JCL will open their set with "Deck the Halls," arranged by Tom Kubis, followed by selections from the Duke Ellington's arrangement of Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite." They will round out the program with Rapson's arrangement of "Jingle Bells."

Richardson will be a featured soloist with JCL throughout their set. A trumpet and jazz professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richardson is an extremely versatile artist who plays and has recorded jazz, contemporary and classical music.

Rapson commented, "I heard Rex in Athens in the fall of 2003 and was blown away. This guy can do everything: He solos, he plays lead and he knows all the styles. He's a complete trumpet player who plays with fire and originality -- he left me shaking my head. I decided right then and there that we'd have to find a way to bring him to Iowa."

Richardson has appeared as a guest artist with dozens of important ensembles throughout the world, including the symphony orchestras of Guangzhou (China), Tokyo and Osaka (Japan), Phoenix, Omaha, Rochester, Syracuse and Oregon; the Orchestra Academic Baskent (Turkey), the Melbourne New Orchestra (Australia), the U.S. Navy Band and Orchestra in Washington, D.C.; the Athens (Greece) Jazz Orchestra, the Sydney (Australia) All Stars Big Band and the Navy Commodores Jazz Ensemble.

He has given recitals and master classes at the Xinghai Conservatory in China, the University of Melbourne and the Sydney Conservatory in Australia, the University of Thessaloniki in Greece, the Royal Northern College of Music in England, the Eastman School of Music and Northwestern University. His international jazz festival appearances as a soloist and bandleader include those of Chicago, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary and several in Italy. He has appeared on dozens of albums and has released two jazz recordings as a leader for the IGMOD and D'note labels.

Richardson was honored in Downbeat Magazine's International Critics' Poll as one of nine trumpeters deserving wider recognition. He is a Yamaha Artist and performs exclusively on Yamaha trumpets, cornets and fluegelhorns. More information is available at

Rapson joined the faculty of the UI School of Music as director of jazz studies in August 1993. A recording artist for the Sound Aspects and Nine Winds labels, he is a composer and trombonist whose work mixes ethnic and experimental elements with more conventional jazz forms. His experimental jazz recording "Dances and Orations" has been hailed as "one of the most vital CDs to come around in a long time" in Jazziz and as "a conceptual and musical triumph" by Josef Woodard in the Independent.

Sandy, who joined the jazz faculty in 2000, is a jazz trumpet and flugelhorn performer, teacher and clinician. Sandy performs regularly with local and regional jazz groups including the OddBar Trio, the Grismore Scea Group, Equilateral and Anthony Cox's Shovel. As a former member of the Orquesta Alto Maiz and Oddbar he has made seven CDs, toured Europe in 1998 and twice been featured on "Jazzset with Branford Marsalis" on National Public Radio. He is an educational specialist/clinician for Conn/Selmer and a Conn Vintage One trumpet and flugelhorn artist.

Performances at the Englert Theatre are made possible by an agreement between the UI Division of Performing Arts and the Englert Theatre, Inc. The series of 11 performances, from both the School of Music and the Dance Department, continues through the 2005-06 academic year.

Admission to "A Jazz Christmas" will be $15 and$10; $8 and 5 for UI students and youth. Tickets are available from the Englert Box Office, 221 E. Washington in downtown Iowa City. The box office is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday. For additional ticket information, call the box office at 319-688-2653.

The mission of the Englert Civic Theatre, Inc., is to own, maintain and operate the Englert Theatre as a community arts center and performance space, enhancing the vitality of Iowa City's historic downtown by preserving its last historic theater.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072,