An exciting event is coming to Kansas Wesleyan Feb. 4-8, as “Fusion!: KWU Festival of Music,” is held at locations throughout Salina. All events are free and open to the public, and both KWU students and the public will have opportunities to participate during the nearly week-long festival.
“We are very excited to announce this festival,” said Dr. Milt Allen, chair of the KWU Department of Music. “We believe that ‘Fusion!’ is a very appropriate title that builds on previous festival efforts, as it better reflects what we value both musically and educationally as a department. From multiple styles of music, diverse performers, a deep educational commitment and a wide choice of events for the public, there’s truly something for everyone during Fusion, the KWU Festival of Music!”
The event gets underway at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 4 in Sams Chapel, as the festival’s first concert features acoustic performances from popular local bands Everyday Lights and The Radicles. Everyday Lights, a six-person band that includes KWU alumni, will be performing on campus for the first time.
The following day brings another top-notch experience, as the KWU Wind Ensemble—directed by Dr. Carl Rowles—and the Festival High School Trumpet Choir perform with special guest, trumpeter Dr. Courtney Jones. Jones is currently the assistant professor of trumpet and artistic director of jazz and chamber ensembles at Florida Atlantic University, and has previously shared the stage with such greats as B.B. King and Stevie Wonder. The Feb. 5 event also begins at 7:30 p.m. in Sams Chapel.
Thursday, Feb. 6 features two unique sessions, including “Coyote Fest,” a chance for KWU students to perform musical works from all genres. It will be held at Ad Astra Books and Coffee House from 7:30–9 p.m., and will be followed by the festival’s “Jazz Jam” at Old Chicago Pizza and Tap Room. Members of the public are invited to bring their instruments and join KWU faculty members Dean Kranzler—2020 Kansas Music Hall of Fame Inductee—on drums, and Steve Lueth on piano, for an informal evening of musical stylings that will run from 9:30–11:30 p.m. Local band Jazz Tangent will open the night with a brief set.
The third, and final, concert of the week is Friday, Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in Sams Chapel, as The President’s Concert features special guests maestro Dr. Carolyn Watson and bass Dr. Nicholas Miguel, who will be alongside the KWU Festival Orchestra and the KWU Concerto winners.
Watson is the director of orchestral studies at the University of Kansas, and is the former director of the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra. She has made guest appearances with the Dallas Opera, the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra and numerous other professional orchestras. Miguel has performed throughout the Midwest for the past several years, including with the Grammy-nominated group True Concord.
The festival wraps up Saturday, as Watson and the KWU Festival Orchestra will be part of a conducting symposium in Sams Chapel from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Area conductors will be participating as well.