Past and present University of Wisconsin Oshkosh jazz students will unite for a fun weekend of jazz Oct. 20-21.
There is no cost to participate in the event organized by Marty Robinson, jazz and trumpet professor at UW Oshkosh.
“As far as I know, there has never been any kind of Jazz Alumni or Music Alumni Weekend at UW Oshkosh,” Robinson said. “I’ve been at UWO since 2004 and have thought about the idea for about 10 years now, so I’m really excited to see it finally come to fruition and to welcome alumni from many eras back to campus for some music, reminiscing and good fun.
Alumna Nicole Riordan, of Slinger, who graduated in 2015 with a degree in human resources and a music minor, said she is looking forward to making music with “some great musicians.” Riordan has kept music as a “passionate hobby.” She said her best memories of UW Oshkosh were the jazz concerts.
“Even when I didn’t particularly care for a piece, I still enjoyed performing it because I was making awesome music with some really awesome musicians,” she said. “I always looked forward to that 3 p.m. hour!”
The weekend kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20 at the UW Oshkosh Music Hall, with a jazz concert featuring the UW Oshkosh Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Lab Band, with special guest alumni.
A post-concert gathering is planned for Friday night.
On Saturday, Oct. 21, musicians will take part in jazz rehearsals from 10-noon and from 2 to 4 p.m. Depending on the size of the turnout, several different bands may be assembled.
Between rehearsals, lunch will be at Reeve Union and a tour of campus will take alumni to their former hangouts on campus.
Jazz musicians will put on an informal concert Saturday at The Algoma Club in downtown Oshkosh, beginning at 7 p.m., featuring UW Oshkosh jazz alumni bands and UW Oshkosh Jazz Ensemble.
Robinson said the main goal of the event is to allow former students the opportunity to reconnect with each other, the university and with him.
“Our college years are when we truly become who we are as individuals, and the people around us were such an invaluable part of that life-changing experience,” Robinson said. “Why shouldn’t we all want to reconnect with those special people who were once a very important part of our lives?”
Robinson said he is hoping his current students can see the lifelong learning that music provides, all in a setting like that of UWO that is supportive and can nurture deep and lasting friendships.
“Mostly, though, were just going to have fun retelling old stories,” Robinson said, “and making jazz music together once again.