The Valparaiso University Jazz Ensemble is the premier jazz performance ensemble at Valparaiso University.
Membership is by audition and students of all majors are encouraged to participate.
The ensemble performs professional-level repertoire in concert and at outreach performances at schools, community events, and numerous alumni gatherings.
In addition to numerous performances on campus throughout the year, each February the ensemble performs for the Valparaiso University Chicago alumni chapter at the Polo Café in Bridgeport, Chicago. The Jazz Ensemble was the first university ensemble to perform in the Harre Union as part of its grand opening.
For the past 10 years, the ensemble has played monthly at a local pub — the current venue is Duffy’s Place. In the fall the ensemble performs the first Tuesday of the month; in the spring students perform on the last Tuesday of each month. The experience teaches students to “think on their feet” in a live performance setting that is a traditional venue for jazz musicians and is also a lot of fun.
The Jazz Ensemble has performed with and indeed prepared the incredible compositions and arrangements of James Moody, Slide Hampton, Randy Brecker, Frank Foster, Johnny Frigo, Bunky Green, Bobby Shew, Jon Faddis, Ernie Watts, Henry Johnson, Clark Terry, Lew Tabackin, Eddie Henderson, Christine Jensen, Ingrid Jensen, Claire Daly, Jerry Bergonzi, Bobby Watson, Maynard Ferguson, and Billy Pierce as well as numerous Chicago-based musicians.