Join us for an incomparable weekend of jazz April 21st - 22nd. The Eau Claire Jazz Festival is hosting a Concert Series with three phenomenal artists from all over the country. In addition, this event will showcase best-of-the-best of our regional jazz students. There is no other event like it and it only happens two nights out of the entire year. Get your tickets today!
The 2021 Guest Artists
The festival breaks out of its campus walls in the evenings for featured performances by headliners and guest artists, backed by the nationally renowned UW-Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble I. The top bands from our STUDENT SESSIONS will get the opportunity to play in front of a packed house.
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The first jazz ensemble (called Stage Band at that time) was started in 1962 by students. John Buchholz and his brother Jim were two of them. Larry McCaghy ran the band as a pianist. Bob Gantner (who successfully convinced the Board of Regents circa 1947? to establish a music department at what was then known as Wisconsin State University Eau Claire) was the head of the Music Department at that time and he gave the band $400 to buy music. That's about $4000 in today's money!
Ron Keezer was at Berklee in Boston from 1961-63 and was sending charts to the band. He returned to Eau Claire the fall of 1963. He ran the band for one year (1963-1964) and then Joe Casey took over as a faculty member in the fall of 1964 and the students could finally get credit for the course. Ron was in the band during the ‘63-64 and ‘64-65 school years. He graduated in 1965. He then went to school at UW-Madison (‘65-66), taught in Muskego, WI for two years and returned to Eau Claire in the summer of 1968. He got a Master’s degree in 1969 and the University hired him.