WMU jazz students rack up multiple DownBeat Awards
June 13, 2011 | WMU News
Downbeat magazine, June 2011
KALAMAZOO--Students in the Western Michigan University Jazz Studies Program continued their winning ways in the 34th annual DownBeat Student Music Awards Competition, taking home six awards in six different categories and continuing the University's streak of winning multiple awards.
The six awards put WMU in fourth place in a tie with Howard University in the international competition. Only one other university in Michigan claimed an award, with Michigan State University capturing one award.
Results are in the June issue of DownBeat magazine, which is now on newsstands. The annual competition was opened last year to schools around the world.
"I am continuously inspired by the tireless efforts and creative, artistic outcomes of our students and the faculty," says Tom Knific, director of the Jazz Studies Program and father of one of the award winners. "In these times, it is incredible to be globally competitive and appropriately recognized."
WMU students and ensembles taking home DownBeat awards this year are:
- Gene Knific (piano) of Portage, Mich., Instrumental Jazz Soloist, a student of Tom Knific.
- Eric Bowman (trombone) of Portage, Mich., Instrumental Jazz Soloist, a student of Scott Cowan.
- Youyan Qu (violin) of Beijing, Classical Soloist, a student of Renata Knific.
- Mas Que Nada, Blues/Pop/Rock Group, directed by Tom Knific.
- Gold Company, Large Vocal Jazz Ensemble, directed by Steve Zegree.
- Nich Meuller Group, Blues/Pop/Rock Group, directed by Steve Zegree.