Guest composer Dean Sorenson (from left), Badger High School Jazz band director Greg Bunge, retired Lake Geneva Middle School jazz band director Ray Ames, and current Lake Geneva Middle School jazz band director Amanda Krause, shown at the 2018 Area Jazz Festival, are gearing up for this year’s event. (Submitted photo)

A special night of jazz, featuring musicians from Badger High School, Lake Geneva Middle School, Brookwood Middle School and Woods School will be presented at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, in the Badger High School Auditorium, 220 E. South St., Lake Geneva.

The concert will feature a piece written and arranged just for this evening by Dean Sorenson, director of Jazz Studies at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

The Area Jazz Festival is an annual event in Lake Geneva. Each year a guest artist and clinician is brought in to work with and perform with the bands.

Sorenson, mentor to Lake Geneva Middle School Band Director Amanda Krause, is a highly sought after composer and arranger.

“A few years ago we reached out to Dean to see if he would be willing to write a commission for a mass jazz band,” Krause said. “He agreed and became sort of an ‘Artist in Residence’ for last year and this year. We are completely humbled that we were able to have Dean write this tune for our festival.”

The piece, which will be performed by all of the participating jazz bands is named “The Golden Badger.”

“The title is my attempt to describe the gopher that lives in Badger country,” Sorenson said.

Krause said it was incredibly special last year for her to work with her former middle school (her father who was covering her then maternity leave), high school, and college jazz directors in one evening of incredible music.

“This festival is always a reminder that Jazz Education is alive and well in Lake Geneva,” she said.

“I am very excited to see this project come to fruition as it has been a couple years in planning,” Sorenson added. “I was so very impressed last year when I visited the schools and had the opportunity to play with the bands. It allowed me to write music that I hope will be somewhat custom made for the players involved.”

Sorenson is associate professor and director of Jazz Studies at the University of Minnesota as well as a prolific and highly sought-after composer, arranger, trombonist, educator and clinician.

He received his bachelor’s degree in trombone performance from the University of Minnesota and his master’s degree in jazz arranging and composition from the Eastman School of Music.

The concert is open to the public. Tickets for the show will be available at the door for $2.


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