A few hundred of the top student musicians from across Iowa are in Cedar Falls for this weekend’s Tallcorn Jazz Festival. Caroline Boehmer, in the School of Music at the University of Northern Iowa , is coordinating the event. She says they’re expecting between 40 and 50 bands from high schools all over Iowa, with each band ranging in size from four to six members and ensembles that might have 40 or 50 students each.
Boehmer says this is the 56th year UNI has hosted the jazz festival. She says it started out long ago as a couple of students and instructors just playing jazz together and it developed into the nationally known fest. Boehmer says it’s now the nation’s oldest continuously running high school jazz festival.
While it’s a pleasure for listeners, she says the musicians are trying to put their best notes forward. She says it is a competition between the various students, competing for solo spots within the ensembles, but it’s also to learn about the Jazz Studies program at UNI and to meet and greet fellow fans of the genre. Saturday is the second and final day of the fest, running from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. Most bands will compete in Russell Hall with a concert at 7:15 P.M.