Ball State's 'Art of Jazz Series' returns for 22nd season with new director

Topic: College of Fine Arts

October 11, 2007

Mark Busell
Mark Busell
When Larry McWilliams announced his retirement as Ball State's director of jazz ensembles, the question was: Who would fill the renowned musician's spot?

With the arrival of Mark Buselli, the question has been answered. The jazz ensembles are in great hands that will direct the "Art of Jazz Series" when it returns for its 22nd season at 8 p.m. Oct. 18 at Sursa Performance Hall.

The new director's impressive credentials include having more than 40 arrangements published for big bands, brass ensemble and piano and trumpet. He has played for four U.S. presidents and was the first American jazz musician to play on the stage in St. Petersburg, Russia, where Tchaikovsky premiered his "Nutcracker Suite."

After spending eight years at Butler University, he comes to Ball State with high hopes.

"I get to step into a program that has been established for more than 20 years," he said. "I don't have to worry about building a new program as much as about producing. I'll be able to concentrate on the creative side and make positive changes."

McWilliams is excited about what Buselli will bring to the program.

"He's a great guy, and I think he was the right person for the position," he said. "He's totally excited about getting the position, and I look forward to hearing his first concert."

McWilliams joined the Ball State faculty in 1970 as director of the jazz studies program, a trumpet instructor and a member of the DaCamera Brass Quintet and the Muncie Symphony Orchestra.

Under his direction, the Jazz Lab Ensemble, the main performing group in the jazz program, has gained regional, national and international attention through participation at numerous jazz festivals. McWilliams also developed "Dimensions of Jazz," a high school jazz festival at Ball State that has lasted more than 30 years.

The concert will feature saxophonist Don Aliquo from Nashville, Tenn. A recording artist and member of the Buddy Rich Band, Aliquo draws from a variety of influences, stretching the boundaries of jazz. The concert will feature pieces by Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Don Sebesky, Todd Dameron and more.

Concert tickets cost $5 and are on sale at the Emens Auditorium box office. Call 765-285-1539 to order. Tickets will also be on sale one hour before the concert at the Sursa Performance Hall box office.

By Jennifer Strempka

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