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Monday, November 29, 2021


Weekend echoed with musical activities

The Moores School of Music invited a wide range of student musicians and performers to participate in this year’s Jazz Festival. Judges critiqued middle and high school musical groups and awarded them for standout performances. The event also served as a preview as to what the college has to offer for prospective UH students. | Hendrick Rosemond/The Daily Cougar

This past weekend, the Moores Opera House was buried in tunes as the Moores School of Music hosted their 14th annual Jazz Festival.

The Jazz Festival consisted of two days of events including, but not limited to: free clinics, middle and high school bands performing before judges, a performance by the Texas Music Festival Jazz Project, a performance by the Moores School of Music Jazz Orchestra and performances by guest artists like Seamus Blake.

The festival has an open door policy, meaning that ensembles are automatically accepted when they apply.

“We do not discriminate on experience,” said Director of Jazz Ensembles Noe Marmolejo, executive producer of the festival.

“Students get the opportunity to perform and be adjudicated by myself and a panel of judges and hear artists play. There is an educational as well as performance component of the festival.”

Each day of the festival awards are distributed to the students and schools.

There are 25 all-star awards given to individual students who are recognized in their ensemble, two soloist awards, one outstanding soloist of the entire festival, outstanding award for best middle and high school of the day, and outstanding middle and high school of the entire festival.

“Every day is a whole new bag, every band is a whole new thing,” Marmolejo said.

“The bands that come here usually are consistent on a year-to-year basis and you see market improvements over the years and each day during the festival, which is what we want to see. We want to see improvement so I am very impressed so far. We’ve heard some pretty good stuff.”

Marmolejo was trusted to start the festival by former Moores School of Music Department Chairman David Tomatz because of on Marmolejo’s expertise.

Like Marmolejo, the judges of the festival are educators and musicians who are rotated each year with different judges and selected on his behalf.

The Moores School of Music serves as one of the primary financial supporters of the festival.

In addition, the students in the college play a big part in the festival.

They set up the ensembles, serve as the stage crew and tell each ensemble where to go.

Many past attendees of the festival have grown to become students of the music college, which suggests the festival is a great recruiting technique for the Moores School of Music.

“I want the students to gain the exposure by playing for other people,” Marmolejo said.

“Every day they hear things from their band director, now they are going to hear it from other people. We hope that we will reinforce what the directors are already doing and add on to the students’ learning experience.”

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