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Music, Theatre and Dance Fund Spotlight: Jazz Program Support

The Jazz Studies Program at Colorado State University is rising to prominence through the leadership of Director Peter Sommer and Jazz enthusiasts Jim and Wendy Franzen. Consisting of two large jazz ensembles and two small jazz combos, the students have had the opportunity to perform at Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge in Denver, named one of the top 100 Jazz Clubs in the world, while Sommer and the Jazz faculty, Wil Swindler, Ben Markley and Shilo Stroman, rise to prominence in the national jazz scene.

“Jim and Wendy Franzen’s support has completely changed the face of our jazz program at CSU,” says Sommer. “Thanks to their contributions, we are able to offer courses in Jazz History, Improvisation, Theory, and Composistion, and we are currently in the process of designing a complete course of study for our talented students who want to focus their studies on America’s greatest art form.”

Jim and Wendy Franzen, who funded the creation of the Graduate String Quartet at CSU and support students in the College of Liberal Arts through the Thelonious Scholarships (named after legendary Jazz artist Thelonious Monk), have not only financed the Jazz program, but have contributed time and resources to raise money for CSU by hosting the popular Jazz Barn Concert Series.

“Our Jazz Barn Concert series offers four concerts a year, and we bring in the finest players from New York and California, as well as local standouts from Colorado,” says Jim. “Our goal is to raise funds for the Jazz program at CSU while offering an intimate setting for jazz performance.”

For more information about the Jazz Barn Concert Series, contact Amy Reckley at info@art342.org.