HOLYOKE — After being canceled the last two years, the annual Holyoke Community College Jazz Festival returns for 2022 with a big-band concert on Friday, March 11, featuring the Amherst Jazz Orchestra along with members of the HCC jazz faculty.
The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in HCC’s Leslie Phillips Theater in the Fine & Performing Arts building on the main HCC campus, 303 Homestead Ave.
The HCC Jazz Festival was last held in March 2019 with Grammy-winning saxophonist Paul Winter as the guest artist for the two-day event. Jazz Festivals in 2020 and 2021 were cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Amherst Jazz Orchestra, led by trombonist David Sporny, has been a mainstay of every HCC Jazz Festival since the first in 1998. Traditionally, the festival opens with the concert on Friday night with a special guest artist playing with the orchestra, followed by jazz workshops with area high-school musicians and a closing concert on Saturday afternoon.
This year’s concert will be a one-day event with the Amherst Jazz Orchestra as the headliner and spotlighting members of the HCC jazz faculty: Ted Levine (saxophone), Geoff Cunningham (trumpet), Pete Grimaldi (trumpet), and Robert Ferrier (guitar).
“It’s been a long two years, and while we won’t be having our usual guest artist, student performances, and clinics, we will be having a big-band concert with the Amherst Jazz Orchestra that will feature some of our HCC faculty,” said Ferrier, the Jazz Festival co-founder and organizer. “It’ll be great to be back on stage again, even if it’s only for one night. Hopefully we’ll be back to our traditional two-day event next year.”
The concert is free for HCC students, faculty, and staff, and $10 for the general public. Call (413) 552-2485 for more information.