WCU to Host Free Jazz Concert on July 21

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Alumni of the Criterions Jazz Ensemble, out of West Chester University’s Wells School of Music, will take the stage for a free concert on Thursday, July 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, located in the Philips Memorial Building on 700 South High Street.

The concert will also be available via livestream.

An annual tradition, the Criterions concert welcomes alumni old and young who played in the premier musical ensemble. The program traditionally includes jazz, swing, and big band music.

This year’s ensemble includes members who have gone on to successful careers as professional musicians, music teachers, and music executives. Dave DiValentino, a band director in the North Penn School District, is the director of the alumni ensemble.

“The Criterions reunion always has an amazing energy to it,” said DiValentino. “These musicians look forward all year to getting together with fellow alumni from across all generations and to performing some of the best jazz standards ever written. This year will be extra special because we are back in ‘full-force’ after lower participation than usual last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Criterions will play from the big band literature that includes the music of Count Basie, Buddy Rich, and Stan Kenton. The concert coincides with the Wells School of Music’s Summer Jazz Camp, and students from the camp will perform in a few of the opening numbers. Saxophonist Jonathan Ragonese, also the Director of Jazz Studies at West Chester University’s Wells School of Music, will be featured in the concert.

“Ragonese plays all over the tristate area. For local audiences to have the chance to see him perform for free is a real treat,” said DiValentino.