PUBLISHED IN THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE APRIL 1, 2015
From April 6-11, Valparaiso University will be hosting its 30th annual Jazz Fest, including a dynamic performance by multiple Grammy Award-winning recording artist, Natalie Cole.
Natalie Cole, daughter of musical sensation Nat “King” Cole, is an accomplished R&B and jazz vocalist who will be performing hits from her new, Latin Grammy Award-nominated album “Natalie Cole En Espanol,” along with classics like “This Will Be” and “Unforgettable …With Love.”
Jeff Brown, Producer and Founder of Valparaiso University Jazz Fest, is thrilled to have the legendary woman performing. “Natalie Cole has a unique blend of rhythm and blues with jazz is emblematic of the variety and quality of music Valpo’s Jazz Festival has brought to the stage for the past 30 years,” Brown said. Brown is also an educator at Valparaiso University for the past 30 years, the Coordinator of Jazz Studies, and a participant in the faculty trio that will be performing.
Valparaiso University’s annual Jazz Fest features an exciting lineup of local, regional, and international artists, as well as University faculty and student ensembles and high school jazz ensembles.
As a founder of the event, Brown has watched Jazz Fest has blossomed over the years. “(It) has grown from a one and a half day festival to one of the largest college jazz festivals in the Midwest, if not the entire United States.”
The festival has also opened doors of friendships for Brown in the community, “I’ve developed a number of friendships over the years with people who return to the festival time and time again.”
“Our Jazz Festival is special because it attracts a broad spectrum of people of all ages. It’s one of the only performance outlets that the university does that engages the community the most,” Brown said, he continued, “anytime a university can establish a tradition that the community can enjoy is special. We only made the past 30 years thanks to the community’s amazing support.”
Tickets for Natalie Cole’s performance in the Athletics-Recreation Center (ARC building) are available online at valpo.edu/jazz-fest-tickets. Approximately 2,000 tickets will be available, first-come, first serve. The cost for Valparaiso University students is $15, and $30-$75 for the general public.
“Our goal of the festival is to keep it affordable and we are able to do that with the help of some very generous donors,” Brown mentioned.
Beth Casey is a freelance writer.
Valparaiso University Jazz Fest
Valparaiso University, 1009 Union Street, Valparaiso
Information: 219-464-5415 or valpo.edu/vuca/events.php