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Temple University Jazz Band Wins Jack Rudin Jazz Championship

Indiana University and Michigan State University take second and third place in inaugural collegiate jazz competition

The Temple University Jazz Band
The Temple University Jazz Band (Terell Stafford, center) outside Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City (photo: Shuli Seidler-Feller for Jazz at Lincoln Center)

Temple University has won the inaugural Jack Rudin Jazz Championship, an invitational competition for university jazz programs organized by Jazz at Lincoln Center and held January 18–19 at JALC’s Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York.

Led by program director Terell Stafford, the Temple University Jazz Band was one of 10 collegiate ensembles invited to compete. The Indiana University Jazz Ensemble, led by Brent Wallarab, was the competition’s second-place winner; the Michigan State University Jazz Orchestra, led by Rodney Whitaker, took third place.

Wynton Marsalis, JALC’s managing and artistic director, announced the results at an awards ceremony on the evening of Jan. 19. The top three contestants received trophies and cash prizes of $10,000, $7,500, and $5,000, respectively.

Named for longtime JALC patron Jack Rudin and modeled after the Center’s Essentially Ellington High School Band competition (which Rudin and his wife Susan endowed), the Jazz Championship features each participating school in a combo performance on its opening night. The following day features the competition, in which each ensemble performs three tunes before a panel of judges led by Marsalis. The event’s second evening includes an awards ceremony and a concert that showcases each of the top three ensembles, as well as a set by Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

The other seven participants in the championship were California State University, Northridge; the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colo.; the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas; Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.; North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C.; and the Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music, both in New York City.

More information about the Jack Rudin Jazz Championship can be found at the Jazz at Lincoln Center website.

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