2016 was an eventful year that marked major milestones and gave cause for celebration. From our Jayhawks in Rio to our 27th Rhodes Scholar, KU alumni had plenty of reasons to be proud of their alma mater in 2016, so we’re recounting the most memorable moments and biggest KU stories of the past year. With help from our crack team of KU experts, a.k.a. your hard-working KU Alumni Association staff, we’ve assembled and ranked the top stories of 2016. So without further ado, we present the best of KU:
…How are we doing so far? Can you guess the biggest stories of 2016? Our final 15 feature some beloved KU buildings–both new and old–a few famous Jayhawks and some fond farewells. Keep reading while we reveal the rest of the best…
The University of Kansas Jazz Ensemble I, directed by Dan Gailey, performed April 12 at the Appel Room of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. The program included selections from Charlie Parker, Irving Berlin and Duke Ellington, along with compositions by a KU alumnus and a current student.
The ensemble performed the world premiere of “Bright Day Moon” composed by Andrew Linn, u’10, who attended the concert. The group also played “Everybody is with Everybody Else,” by Kai Ono, a junior piano major from Irvine, California. Ono won the 2016 Downbeat Student Music Award for Outstanding Original Composition.
KU Jazz Ensemble I has received 23 Downbeat Student Music Awards, including Best Large Jazz Ensemble 2015 in the Graduate Division.
Joining the ensemble in New York was acclaimed jazz vocalist Deborah Brown, a Kansas City, Missouri, native who has performed in more than 50 countries and recorded 11 albums.
Playing on one of jazz’s most celebrated stages with Brown was “a really great feeling,” says trombonist Fern Stevermer, a junior from Fulton, Missouri. “The School of Music gives us so many opportunities, great faculty and great experiences. It gets us ready to go out in the world as prepared musicians.”
Alumni support helped make the students’ trip possible. Lead sponsors of the performance were James Zakoura, c’70, l’72; Reach Out Kansas Inc.; the Law Offices of Smithyman & Zakoura; and the Zakoura Family Foundation.
Watch our video below for highlights from the performance and comments from students. A slideshow of additional photos from the rehearsal, reception and performance is below the video. Photos and video by Dan Storey.