Jazz Vocalist Jane Monheit Headlines Maplerock Jazz Festival

Jazz Vocalist Jane Monheit Headlines Maplerock Jazz Festival

3/6/18 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University’s award-winning jazz program will present the 2018 Maplerock Jazz Festival on Friday, March 16. Along with free performances by area school jazz ensembles from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., the event offers a main stage concert at 7:30 p.m. in Hugo Young Theatre, which features acclaimed Grammy-nominated vocalist Jane Monheit.

Monheit will perform as the headliner of the Jazz Festival’s evening concert, which will open with the Ashland University Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Scott Garlock. Ashland High School alumnus Chip Stephens, piano; Rich Shanklin, saxophone; and Bob Bonora, drums, will join Monheit as guest artists on the evening program. 

Blessed with “a voice of phenomenal beauty” (Stephen Holden, New York Times), Jane Monheit has had plenty of milestone moments in establishing herself as one of today’s best and most important vocalist-musicians. From being labeled a musical prodigy to her first runner-up finish in 1998’s Thelonious Monk International Vocal Competition, her ingénue looks and passion for the Great American Songbook led her to producing Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald, her tenth studio recording since her 2000 debut, Never Never Land.

Monheit explains, "The Great American Songbook is always going to be the core for me. I have a real sense of pride and purpose about keeping it alive, bringing the music to new generations. It’s a national treasure. I’m really proud to be one of the singers that people want to hear handling that material.” 

Jazz pianist Chip Stephens returns to his hometown to join Monheit at Maplerock. His collaborative, recording and world-wide touring with some of the legendary figures in the history of jazz would compile a dissertation. He has performed on Grammy and Emmy Award winning recordings and is sought after for his hard-swinging, powerful and lyrical pianism. As professor of jazz piano at the University of Illinois, Stephens has been consistently ranked in the top 10 percent of University of Illinois professors since 2005. He was recognized by the provost, vice chancellor and the Committee on Tenure and Promotion as being “Extraordinary for the level of his Teaching and Collaborative Artistry.” 

Saxophonist Rich Shanklin has been a faculty member at the University of Akron since 1982, where he teaches classical and jazz saxophone, coaches saxophone quartets, and teaches courses in jazz history, jazz arranging, woodwind pedagogy and the business of music. He has also directed the Vocal Jazz Ensemble. He is a member of the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, the Jazz Unit, and the Blossom Festival Band, and has also played woodwinds for countless performances at Playhouse Square as a member of the pit orchestra.

Percussionist Bob Bonora has worked with a variety of entertainers, performing in virtually every hotel and showroom in Las Vegas. He currently is on the faculty of The College of Southern Nevada, where he is Lead Faculty for Music, coordinator of Percussion/Steel Drum and Drum Set Studies as well professor of History of Rock Music. Bonora is also currently percussionist with Vegas! The Show at Planet Hollywood. He has performed as percussionist with The Wayne Newton Orchestra, and as a member of the Crimes Against Nature Band for the Emmy Award Nominated Penn & Teller television show “Sin City Spectacular.” He also has performed with an endless list of premier artists from Harry Connick, Jr. and Alicia Keys to Luciano Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli. Bonora has done work in many of the Broadway shows playing in Las Vegas including The Producers, Mama Mia, We Will Rock You, Avenue Q, Annie, and The Full Monty.

These four guest artists will conduct a public clinic with nine high school bands that will perform earlier in the day in Hugo Young Theatre. After each high school band performs their 30-minute concert, the guest artists will meet with the band and offer their expertise to strengthen the ensemble and individual musician's performance. The Jazz Festival’s afternoon performances are scheduled as follows:

10:45 a.m.       Foundation Academy Jazz Band

11:10 a.m.       Ashland High School Jazz Band B

11:35 a.m.       Lake High School Jazz Band

12:00 p.m.       Rittman High School Jazz Band

12:25 p.m.       BREAK

12:50 p.m.       Ashland High School Jazz Band A

1:15 p.m.         GlenOak High School Jazz Band I

1:40 p.m.         Crestview High School Jazz Band

2:05 p.m.         Galion High School Jazz Band

2:30 p.m.         GleanOak High School Jazz Band II

2:55 p.m.         Crestwood High School Jazz Band

3:20 p.m.         Brecksville-Broadview Hts Jazz Ensemble

The afternoon performances are free and open to the public while tickets for the evening concert are available through the Ashland University Box Office at 419.289.512512 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, or online (additional fees apply) at www.ashland.edu/tickets

Tickets for the evening concert are $10 for adults; $5 for senior citizens, non-Ashland University students and Ashland University faculty and staff; and free for Ashland University students. 

For more information about the Maplerock Jazz Festival or the Ashland University Jazz program, visit www.ashland.edu/music or contact Tricia Applegate, coordinator of performing arts publicity and events, at 419-289-5950 or tapplega@ashland.edu.

Ashland University, ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2017, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) deeply values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.   ###

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