Eau Claire is getting jazzy as local and guest jazz performers will be performing throughout the Eau Claire area

The Chippewa Valley welcomes performers and fans to the area for the annual Eau Claire Jazz Festival

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Eau Claire is getting jazzy as local and guest jazz performers will be performing throughout the Eau Claire area

Participants in last year’s Jazz Festival perform for a crowd.

Participants in last year’s Jazz Festival perform for a crowd.

Photo by FILE PHOTO

Participants in last year’s Jazz Festival perform for a crowd.

Photo by FILE PHOTO

Photo by FILE PHOTO

Participants in last year’s Jazz Festival perform for a crowd.

Story by Lauren Kritter, Staff Writer

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Hundreds of jazz artists will be gathering in the Chippewa Valley April 16-18 for the 48th annual Eau Claire Jazz Festival.

This event, presented by Eau Claire Jazz, Inc. in partnership with UW-Eau Claire, includes concerts, events and competitions that will be taking place all weekend at numerous locations on campus and around the community.

There will be more than 100 performance groups ranging from middle school groups to college ensembles that will be competing on campus during the day.

Other jazz events for all community members to enjoy will continue off campus at night along with some of the top bands from the festival’s daytime competition.

The festival is one of the oldest and largest jazz festivals in the nation. Robert Baca, the festival’s artistic director and head of Eau Claire’s jazz program, said the event continues to go on every year because of the history and tradition that it holds in this area.

“The Eau Claire Jazz Festival is all about educating, entertaining and promoting jazz,” Baca said.

The festival will demonstrate the impact and influence jazz has had on the arts and seek to continue this appreciation for jazz.

Jazz Festival performer and student Angie Coyle is excited to perform with some incredible musicians that are headlining.

“We always get great guest artists and getting to perform with those people is an amazing experience,” Coyle said. “It should be a really fun show and I’m looking forward to sharing the stage with them.”

The event opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday with a performance by returning musician Shaun Johnson at the downtown State Theatre. Tickets for his concert can be purchased online or at the door for $25 for adults and $15 for students.

Other featured headliners performing include Nachito Herrera, Terell Staffored and New York Voices who will be performing Friday and Saturday night.

This year Friday night’s performances will be in the State Theatre so concert-goers can walk from the concert directly to a street alive with the sounds of jazz, Eau Claire’s very own version of 52nd Street.

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