A Focus on Women in Jazz as New Trier Celebrates its 35th Annual Jazz Fest


For More Information:
Rammina Hamill, PR Chair
New Trier Fine Arts Association

January 21, 2018 (For Immediate Release)

Winnetka, Ill. - On Saturday, Feb. 3, for the first time in its 35-year history, the New Trier Jazz Festival will feature programming highlighting the opportunities and barriers to women in jazz. Taking advantage of the popularity of one of the nation's largest student jazz festivals, visiting artists, conductors, and female student musicians will gather in performance and discussion, with a focus on breaking through in a traditionally male-dominated genre, and allowing young musicians to connect with some of the country's outstanding female jazz instrumentalists.

"The young women in our ensembles have many fewer opportunities to see themselves in the musicians they admire," New Trier Director of Jazz Ensembles Nic Meyer said. "In curriculum work, we're encouraged to think of 'windows' and 'mirrors.' While seeking inspiration, our young men have countless mirrors to look into, while our young women may look at these same sources of inspiration through windows. We have an opportunity to provide our young women with some incredible mirrors at this year's New Trier Jazz Festival."

The visiting clinicians include Tanya Darby, professor of jazz trumpet at the University of North Texas and frequent performer with The Count Basie Orchestra, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra; Chicago-based pianist, composer, band-leader, and award winner, Jo Ann Daugherty; Chicagoan Katie Ernst, educator, bassist, vocalist, band-leader, and one of the Chicago jazz scene's brightest lights; and, Alexa Tarantino, a current student at Julliard as well as a frequent saxophone performer at Birdland and faculty member at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

"I hope to meet women of all ages and hear their stories," Junior Lily Fox explains as she looks forward to the festival. "I love meeting other female jazz musicians because being one is almost like being in a sisterhood, where you all have each other's backs and help each other through the rough water of this incredibly male-dominated industry."

While optimistic about the Women in Jazz programming, Fox is also realistic.

"While it is a step forward in receiving recognition, it will not be the one thing that stops sexism forever," she said. "What this event will do is create a bond with more female jazz musicians so we can stick together and pave the way for more jazz musicians who are inspired by the music."

The New Trier Fine Arts Association (NTFAA), which was founded in 1976 and raises money throughout the school year through donations, raffles, and yard sign and car magnet sales to fund guest artist visits and summer scholarships, counts the New Trier Jazz Festival as one of the many successful fine arts programs that make its mission and continual work so worthwhile.

"NTFAA has proudly sponsored Jazz Fest with an annual grant for many years," NTFAA President Ami Campbell notes. "But this year we are especially proud. The Women in Jazz Program offers the school's female musicians a chance to rub shoulders with women who have forged a path before them, in a field in which women have long been underrepresented. Our organization aims to promote and enhance the student experience in the fine arts at New Trier, and this program squarely aligns with our mission."

As in previous years, this year's Jazz Fest will bring together musicians from over 40 middle and high schools. During the day, students will attend workshops and master classes, perform for world- renowned clinicians, and take in various concerts, including Saturday evening's headline concert featuring Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra.

Marsalis is a celebrated trombonist, producer, composer, and educator. He was the recipient of the 2016

Best of the Beat Best Contemporary Jazz Artist Award, while the Uptown Jazz Orchestra's album, Make America Great Again, took the prize for Best Contemporary Jazz Album. Along with his family, Marsalis has long been recognized as jazz royalty, and in 2011, the Marsalis Family received the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award. Delfeayo continues to give back to the jazz community, which makes the opportunity for New Trier's premiere jazz group, Jazz Ensemble 1, to open for The Uptown Jazz Orchestra an extraordinarily thrilling one.

"Clearly Delfeayo belongs to a musical dynasty and his artistry reflects that," Meyer said. "Mr. Marsalis's direction of his ensemble preserves the promise of New Orleans jazz music by empowering his musicians to dialogue and create in real time, to riff and improvise their way through a catalogue of standard and original material imbued with the spirit of the birthplace of jazz, with all the revelry that entails. Our audience will be thrilled with this concert, I'm certain of it."

For more details about NTFAA grants and programs, please visit newtrierfinearts.org.


New Trier Township High School District 203 serves Chicago's North Shore suburban communities of Glencoe, Kenilworth, Wilmette and Winnetka, most of Northfield and parts of Glenview and Northbrook.