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The Kirkwood Vocal Jazz Festival is held annually the first Friday in March. The festival is open to middle school, high school, college and university level vocal jazz ensembles. The event draws choirs from Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. Participants perform in Kirkwood's Ballantyne Auditorium on a professional sound system designed specifically for vocal jazz. All rhythm section instruments are provided by Kirkwood Community College including a new Steinway concert grand piano.

Participating ensembles are allotted 30 minutes of stage time. The ensembles are evaluated by nationally and internationally recognized jazz educators and clinicians who provide written comments during the performance and an onstage clinic following the performance. Each ensemble receives a CD and videotape of its performance and clinic session. Directors have the opportunity of having their ensembles perform for written comments only or for a confidential rating. Outstanding student performances are acknowledged by an Outstanding Performance Certificate awarded by the clinicians. The festival culminates with a concert featuring performances by Kirkwood's RSVP and Jazz Transit and performances by our guest artists.

Previous Kirkwood Vocal Jazz Festivals have featured artists including Kevin Mahogany, Beachfront Property, M-Pact, Groove Society, Darmon Meader, Michele Weir, Gene Aitken, Kirby Shaw, Paris Rutherford, Kristin Korb, Joe Herbert, Kerry Marsh, Kathy Kosins, Allen Koepke and The Idea of North (Australia).

Directors, if you're interested in having your ensemble(s) participate in the Kirkwood Vocal Jazz Festival, contact Ray Salucka at (319)398-4959 or by e-mail.