Reading band aims to expand campus jazz scene


For the past five years, WI- JEN, a network in Wisconsin based on jazz education, and SEAL have sponsored a Jazz Reading Band, which is an event where students are invited to listen to and participate in performances.


SEAL Manager Katelyn Wurtz said this event is held three times every semester.

The next Jazz Reading Band will be held from 9 to 11 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 3 in the Down Under.

Junior Dylan Ovanin collaborates with SEAL to market and advertise the Jazz Reading Band. He said the turn out gets better every year.

“The Jazz Reading Band is when the top band at the school goes to the Down Under and basically

sight reads charts of music,” Ovanin said.

However, the top jazz band isn’t the only group that’s going to perform. Ovanin said students bring their horns or other instruments and join in with the bands after they play a few tunes. Absolutely anyone can participate.

This Wednesday, the Vocal Jazz Group and the Jazz Combos will perform with the Jazz Reading Band for the first time.

The event isn’t aimed just at the UW-Whitewater community. Everyone is welcome to join the band and play an instrument.

“It’s always really laid back and welcoming to everyone. One time, there was a group of people who weren’t from Whitewater who just came and started dancing next to the stage and enjoying themselves. One of them even had a horn, so they jumped up and joined in,” Ovanin said.

Since anyone can get up and play, there is no previous rehearsal for this event. All members of the bands and students play everything on the spot.

Ovanin said bigger cities such as Milwaukee offer a lot of opportunities to perform jazz and blues music. However, these kinds of performances are limited in small towns like Whitewater, which is why WI- JEN puts on events such as the Jazz Reading Band.

“There are a lot of people who come from their high schools playing jazz who aren’t music majors, but who would still like the opportunity to be able to play and we are hoping to give them that,” Ovanin said.