The Henry Ford College (HFC) Big Band will perform in Italy and France from Monday, July 6, through Thursday, July 16. In addition, they will have a send-off rehearsal on Sunday, July 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. in F-110, located in the MacKenzie Fine Arts Center (Building F) on the main campus.
The Big Band concert tour will include the following performances: Cannes-Mandelieu in France, the Arena Bindi on the boardwalk of Santa Margherita in Italy, and the Umbria Jazz Festival – the largest and most famous jazz festival in Italy.
“Every tour we take gets more exciting. This time, by playing at the Umbria Jazz festival, we will now have performed at all of the largest jazz festivals in the world,” said Rick L. Goward, founder/director of the HFC Big Band.
HFC’s music program is home to the largest music performance ensembles of all two-year colleges in Michigan. For more than 30 years, HFC music ensembles have entertained and delighted audiences in more than 1,200 concerts, conferences, jazz festivals and performances worldwide. The award-winning Big Band includes talented young professional musicians, music educators and traditional-aged music students – all of whom are enrolled at HFC to continue their performance opportunities.
The Big Band has performed on major stages and prestigious venues throughout North America, Europe and the Caribbean, including Orchestra Hall in Detroit, Carnegie Hall in New York City, four U.S. Presidential Inaugurations (George W. Bush and Barack Obama) in Washington, D.C., Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, Edinburgh Jazz Festival in Scotland, Ford Detroit and Detroit International Jazz Festivals, the Virgin Islands, among many others.
The Big Band has shared the stage with jazz music greats including Maynard Ferguson, the Canadian jazz trumpet player and bandleader, and the legendary Count Basie Orchestra. In addition to receiving local, state and international recognition and awards, Big Band music and performances have been broadcast on Detroit PBS Television and BBC Radio. In fact, one Big Band member James Bostek played on “Conan,” the late-night talk show hosted by comedian Conan O’Brien.
Musicians in HFC ensembles represent a cross section of the HFC student body. Music courses are designed for music majors and liberal arts and technical students, as well as members of the community. In the latter case, community members are enrolled in HFC’s Continuing Education program in order to continue playing with the Big Band, according to Goward.
HFC’s many bands, choirs, jazz bands, and vocal ensembles are open to all by audition. Students pursuing an associate degree in music fulfill requirements in music literature and theory, sight singing/ear training, music history. They also participate in one or more musical ensemble, including several concert bands, a jazz band, choirs and other vocal groups.
“HFC is proud to carry on the legacy of Big Band music composers and introduce audiences of all ages and backgrounds to memorable, toe-tapping performances. Our music ensembles have showcased the best and brightest in our instrumental and vocal music programs at HFC. They are a talented group of musicians and it is always a pleasure to work with them,” said Goward.
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