‘The Admiral’ Maynard Ferguson to host after-school workshop
BEAVER CREEK – Jazz musician and Grammy-nominated trumpet master Maynard Ferguson will host an after-school workshop and discussion for Eagle County band students and a public concert at the Vilar Center for the Arts on Sept. 29. Ferguson will be performing with his swing band Big Bop Nouveau and tickets are $10 for children and $25 for adults. The trip marks Ferguson’s second performance at the Vilar Center. He played to a sold-out house in November 1999.Ferguson began his career as a teenager in Canada. While leading his own band in the Montreal area, Ferguson came to the attention of U.S. big bandleaders. “Maynard would always open the show, and he played three octaves higher on trumpet than anyone else … you [should] have seen the jaws drop,” recalled legendary jazz pianist Paul Bley.
Turning his attention to the United States, Ferguson toured with various bands and first received wide public praise in 1950 when he won the first of three Down Beat Magazine readers’ polls for trumpet. In 1953, Ferguson formed the Birdland Dreamland Band, the first of many successful ensembles under his direction.In 1971, Ferguson broke through the mainstream music scene with his instrumental version of “MacArthur Park” and in 1978 was awarded a Grammy nomination and Gold Record for Conquistador, the album that contained his mega-hit “Gonna Fly Now” from the then-breakout-film “Rocky.” As the decades progressed and music styles changed, Ferguson’s musicality was always evolving. By 1990, he had formed the more traditional big band ensemble of Big Bop Nouveau. Big Bop Nouveau, along with Ferguson, is on the road about eight months a year and incorporates music workshops and lessons into their tour. Ferguson and Big Bop Nouveau appear at the Vilar Center as part of their STARS (Support The Arts Reaching Students) program that focuses on arts in education for Eagle and Lake County students, reaching 3,000 to 5,000 children each school year. “Because we had Maynard here before, we knew his talents and how his music would come across in our venue,” says Vilar Center Director Kris Sabel. “And since we had him here for the student outreach program, we said ‘Why not do a public show as well?’ People are in for a real treat with this one. This group is unbelievably talented.”
Tickets for Maynard Ferguson and Big Bop Nouveau are available through the Vilar Center Box Office at 68 Avondale Lane, Beaver Creek, or by calling 845-TIXS (8497) or on line at http://www.vilarcenter.org. The public concert begins at 7:30 p.m .on Sept. 29. For information about the after-school student workshop taking place the same day, call 748-6651. The Vilar Center is a project of the Vail Valley Foundation.Vail, Colorado