WMU jazz studies students rack up five DownBeat Awards

contact: Mark Schwerin
| WMU News
Graphic depicting the WMU DownBeat winners.

WMU won a total of five awards this year.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University jazz studies students continue their streak of winning multiple awards in DownBeat's annual Student Music Awards, taking five prizes in this year's contest.

The multiple wins put WMU in the company of such esteemed music schools as the University of Miami and the University of North Texas. No other Michigan university received an award. WMU tied for fourth in this year's contest with the University of Northern Colorado and Sacramento State University.

Quality, dedication

"Though it has become an expectation to hear such news, it never gets old and it certainly does not diminish our understanding of the quality and dedication it takes to sustain such consistency," says Daniel Guyette, dean of the WMU College of Fine Arts.

WMU students won seven awards last year and six awards in each of the previous three years. WMU's strong showing in the contest over the past several years places the University squarely among the top five award-winning programs in the world, says Tom Knific, professor of music and director of the WMU Jazz Studies Program.

"The results speak to the talent and hard work of the program's students and dedication of the faculty," Knific says. WMU is pushing 170 in total DownBeat awards.

The awards

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

  • James Richardson, Vocal Jazz Soloist, College Winners, Gregory Jasperse, professor.
  • Gold Company, Large Vocal Jazz Ensemble, College Outstanding Performances, Gregory Jasperse, professor.
  • Andrew Saliba, Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist, College Outstanding Performances, Tom Knific, professor.
  • Sam Alhadid, Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist, College Outstanding Performances, voice, Gregory Jasperse, professor.
  • Mas Que Nada, Latin Group, College Winner, Tom Knific, professor.

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