2024 Press Releases All Stories

WCSU to host annual 27th Annual Jazz Fest

Jazz Fest graphic

DANBURY, Connecticut — Western Connecticut State University will host its 27th Annual Jazz Fest from April 25 – 28, 2024, at the Veronica Hagman Concert Hall in the university’s Visual and Performing Arts Center (VPAC), 43 Lake Ave. Extension, Danbury. All events are open to the public and tickets are available at www.wcsuvpac.eventbrite.com/.

The 2024 WCSU Jazz Fest kicks off with performances by the WCSU Department of Music’s Vocal Jazz Ensemble, WCSU Jazz Combos and the Jazz Ensemble at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 25. Tickets are $7 plus fees online, $10 at the door.

Special guest Charles Tolliver, on trumpet, will perform with the WCSU Jazz Orchestra beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 26. Tickets are $10 plus fees online, $15 at the door.

According to his bio, “Charles Tolliver began his professional career and simultaneously his recording debut with the saxophone giant Jackie McLean on Blue Note Records in 1964. Since then, he has become one of the all-time preeminent trumpeters in Jazz as well as one of its most gifted composer/arranger bandleaders. He is also a Grammy nominated recipient for his Blue Note Records recording ‘With Love.’

“With a career that has spanned five decades he has recorded and/or performed with such renowned artists as Roy Haynes, Hank Mobley, Willie Bobo, Horace Silver, McCoy Tyner, Sonny Rollins, Booker Ervin, Gary Bartz, Gerald Wilson Orchestra, Oliver Nelson, Stanley Cowell, Herbie Hancock, Andrew Hill, Louis Hayes, Roy Ayers, Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, and owned the trumpet chair with the great Max Roach for some years.

Charles’ latest recording is ‘CONNECT’ released July 2020 on Gearbox Records.”

On Saturday, April 27, WCSU Jazz Faculty, featuring Jamie Begian, guitar; Danton Boller, bass; Will Gorman, voice; Jimmy Greene, saxophone; Haneef Nelson, trumpet; Carmen Staaf, piano; and Jeff Siegel, drums, will perform at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 plus fees online and $15 at the door.

Finally, on Sunday, April 28, the last day of the Jazz Fest, performances will feature two groups of some of the most outstanding high school students from across the state. These groups will be directed by Dr. Jimmy Greene and Jamie Begian. Following the high school student all-star bands, Begian will lead a big band of WCSU alumni in a set of music for large jazz ensemble. Tickets are $7 plus fees online and $10 at the door.

Western Connecticut State University is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music. WCSU’s Department of Music is part of the School of Visual and Performing Arts, and offers a range of the highest quality academic, artistic, pre-professional and professional programming within a liberal arts environment. Additionally, it supports and fosters an environment conducive to the professional and artistic growth of faculty and students, and ensures students’ success by meeting their needs in advising, mentoring and professional development. The university offers several bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music, performance and education. Go to www.wcsu.edu/music/degrees for more information.

The program is housed in the Visual and Performing Arts Center, a state-of-the art, all-in-one facility that hosts a multitude of dynamic spaces to accommodate the needs of artists across all disciplines. The versatile facilities include the Veronica Hagman Concert Hall, MainStage Theatre, the art Gallery, Recording Studio, Music Technology Lab, Electronic Music Workshop, Studio Theatre, Scene Shop, Dressing Rooms and Sculpture, Photography, Graphic Design and Art Studios including the M.F.A. Studios. For a list of public events, go to www.wcsu.edu/svpa/events/.

For more information, call the VPAC Box Office at (203) 837-8732 or contact WCSU Communications and Marketing at pr@wcsu.edu.


Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.