From 1975-1996, Bismarck State College hosted an annual Jazz Celebration festival nationally renowned for bringing the country's best jazz musicians and vocalists to North Dakota to perform and work with students at the college and public schools in the area.
On Thursday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. the college will premiere a 30-minute documentary film with rare footage of those musicians performing and interacting with students and the community. The event will be held in the Bavendick Stateroom on the fourth floor of the National Energy Center of Excellence at Bismarck State College.
The film was written and produced by Bruce Wendt, president of Bruce Wendt Productions, and underwritten by Bismarck State College as part of its 75th Year Celebration.
The BSC faculty jazz combo will perform prior to the event, and the film will be bookended by performances by Big Al's Big Band. The band consists of several area musicians who either played with those jazz greats as students or worked with them as faculty. The event will be emceed by BSC history professor Michael McCormack.
In the 1970s, BSC offered a Visiting Scholars Series funded through the National Endowment for the Arts, BSC Foundation, and a Title III grant from the U.S. Department of Education. In 1975, Dr. Lloyd Anderson, who administered the Visiting Scholars series, invited jazz pianist Jaki Byard to BSC; in 1976 he invited legendary trumpeter Clark Terry , launching the annual Jazz Celebration. Byard became a repeat performer and helped bring in fellow musicians such as trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Doc Cheatham, and saxophonist Phil Woods among others.
About Bismarck State College Bismarck State College, an innovative community college in Bismarck, N.D., offers high quality education, workforce training, and enrichment programs reaching local and global communities. For more information, visit bismarckstate.edu.