A Hollywood film composer will be conducting a piece he personalized for a music professor at the university’s annual jazz festival this weekend. Award-winning composer Patrick Williams will conduct his piece, “The Sun Will Shine Today,” in honor of the director of jazz studies Curtis Wilson’s 30th anniversary at TCU.
Williams has received two Grammys, four Emmy awards, and an Oscar nomination for his film composition, and a Pulitzer Prize nomination for “An American Concerto,” according to his Web site.
“He’s a real heavyweight,” Wilson said. “I’ve admired his music since I was in college. I’m looking forward to seeing him again.”
This year will also be the 30th year for the TCU Jazz Festival, which draws 28 high school bands in addition to Williams and Los Angeles trombone player Andy Martin.
Martin has performed award shows as well as TV shows such as “American Idol” and “Dancing with the Stars.”
“The high school bands participating are coming mostly from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, though some are coming from as far away as College Station, and even bands from Hawaii have been known to participate before,” Wilson said.
“It’s a contest, and they are adjudicated by professional musicians,” Wilson said.
The winning students will receive trophies at the awards concert Saturday night. This concert is also where Williams’ music will be played. Martin will perform and Wilson will play a piece he wrote in 1991 in memory of a former TCU student who was killed in an automobile accident, Wilson said.
Although it is technically Wilson’s 31st year at TCU, this year’s festival is special to him because of the many alumni who have been invited, Wilson said.
“I’m looking forward to seeing some of the great students we’ve had here in the past that normally would not come to a concert,” Wilson said. “Some of them are coming from a little bit of a distance, so that will be nice.”
Justin Brown, a sophomore music and political science major and member of the TCU Jazz Ensemble, said he enjoys playing at the festival because jazz is an experience and a conversation with your instrument.
“With classical music, you play notes on a page,” Brown said. “But, with jazz, you create as you go. It becomes your song as you play it.”
Sophomore social work major Patrice French is also a member of the ensemble and said she has played the trombone for eight years.
French is looking forward to the festival because of fellow trombone player Martin, she said. French said she knows of Martin as a prominent musician and was overwhelmed when she found out he would be at the festival.
“It’s more special with someone playing your instrument,” French said. “It makes you realize how good some people are.”
Wilson said he encourages all students to attend the festival to experience “the greatest jazz you could possibly imagine.”
“Jazz is America’s first original art form, and we all need to take pride in it,” Wilson said.