Jazz campers jam


FARMINGTON – There’s no need to head elsewhere to hear great jazz musicians during the next three weeks, because several are performing nightly at the University of Maine at Farmington.

During the day, they’ll serve as counselors and teachers at UMF’s 29th annual Jazz Camp. Sunday through Thursday evenings at 8 through July 28, they will present individual faculty concerts in Lincoln Auditorium of Roberts Learning Center.

Jazz Camp students will present their own concerts on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings in Lincoln Auditorium.

The camp faculty consists mostly of New York City jazz musicians, said Paul Lichter, assistant to camp director Christine Correa. Younger musicians on the cutting edge of music who also happen to be great teachers will use their talents to teach and create during the three-week camp.

“Because of their younger age,” Lichter said, “they can relate better to the students and the music that they are listening to today. They are practitioners of music as it exists today who are moving the art form forward.”

The camp will host 185 students this year. Approximately 80 high-school-age students are here this week. About 60 junior and senior high students will come for the second week, while mostly junior high students will attend the third week, Lichter said. Some adults also choose to participate.

In the 29 years of the camp’s existence, it has evolved from being mostly Maine students with high school music instructors to becoming a camp that brings students from around the United States and Canada and a mostly professional faculty.

“The Internet has helped people discover this camp,” Lichter said.

In school, music students are taught to play music, but the camp works to help them learn how to make music. At the core of jazz music is the ability for improvisation, which takes knowledge of the instrument, mechanics of music and themselves well enough to risk creating their own music, he said.

Some of the faculty have Maine connections. Bill McHenry, originally from Blue Hill, has taught here for many years, he said. Some students, such as jazz vocalist Dave Devoe, who was a student at Jazz Camp 13 years ago, also return to be counselors, Lichter said.

Concerts are open to the public. Donations toward a scholarship fund are accepted. For more information about the nightly concerts, call 778-7758. A listing can be found on the Arts Institute Web site at http://artsinstitute.org