WMU students rack up 6 DownBeat Awards for third year in a row

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Photo of the Four Corners vocal jazz group.

Four Corners

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University students have done it again, landing six coveted DownBeat Student Music Awards for the third straight year.

Photo of Bryan Blowers.

Bryan Blowers

"The efforts of our students and our faculty are simply world class," says Tom Knific, WMU professor of music and director of the jazz studies program. "We could not be more proud."

Results of DownBeat's 37th annual Student Music Awards are announced in the June issue, which is now on newsstands. Knific notes that guitarist Bryan Blowers won the same award he won last year, while Nich Mueller is attached to three awards as a member of Four Corners and for his composition, "Mythic." New faculty members Drs. Andrew Rathbun and Lisa Coons won their first awards since arriving at WMU. In addition, the WMU Jazz Orchestra pocketed its fourth award and the University brought home its third Latin Jazz award in the past five years.

The winners

Photo of the WMU Jazz Orchestra.

WMU Jazz Orchestra

This year's WMU honorees, along with the category of their award and their director or professor, are:

      • Four Corners, Small Vocal Jazz Group, Undergraduate College Winner, Tom Knific, director.
Photo of Nich Mueller.

Nich Mueller

    • Bryan Blowers of Portage, Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist (guitar), Undergraduate College Winner, Tom Knific, professor.
    • Aaron Garcia Band, Blues/Pop/Rock Group, Undergraduate College Winner, Dr. Lisa Coons, director. Aaron Garcia is from Three Rivers.
    • Four Corners, Blues/Pop/Rock Group, Undergraduate College Outstanding Performances, Tom Knific, director.
    • WMU Jazz Orchestra, Latin Group, Graduate College Outstanding Performances, Tom Knific, director.
    • Nich Mueller of Vicksburg, "Mythic", Original Composition-Small Ensemble, Undergraduate College Outstanding Performances, Andrew Rathbun, director.