Coleman Hawkins Jazz Camp swings into its third year

Jessica Knieff

Young musicians spent a week learning from professionals about what it takes to be a jazz musician at the third annual Coleman Hawkins Jazz Camp.

The camp, named for the legendary tenor saxophone player, focused on improvisation, small group performance, jazz theory and many other related skills helping students with an interest in jazz. The students were engaged throughout the weekend in activities that refined their skills in a fun and challenging way.

This year’s camp saw 30 students, grades seventh through 12, from across Kansas attend. About half the group commuted to camp each day while the remaining half lived on campus in the Living and Learning Center.

Their typical day began with breakfast at Lincoln Dining and was followed by rehearsals and classes that helped to refine their jazz skills. Each day, guest clinicians came in to talk about their careers and perform a jam session for the kids to sit in on.

The clinicians, described on the website as some of the finest jazz musicians and educators in the country, have remained mostly the same. They have all come to this camp through connections they have with Craig Treinen, director of jazz studies.

Kira Hephner, sophomore bachelor of arts student at Washburn, participated in this camp for the first time this year as a student counselor.

“My favorite moments of the week were getting to help the kids with soloing and getting to sit down at lunch and dinner and talk with the clinicians about their education and how they got to where they are,” Hephner said.

Students participated in an audition on the first day of the six day camp and were placed in one of four combination groups. The groups were organized according to how each student would learn the best. Each combination group was assigned a guest clinician to receive coaching from for the week.

Sydney Bradley is a junior at Topeka high and attended the camp for the first time after receiving a scholarship covering its cost.

“I’ve learned more about how scales work and being in a combination class I have learned about playing better in a jazz setting,” Bradley said. “To anyone considering attending this camp- its a really good idea. You do get a lot of jazz experience with soloing and playing with other artists and hearing good musicians play.”

Daniel Albertson, sophomore performance major, attended the camp in its first two years as a camper and joined in the third year as a student counselor. He commended Treinen on his recruitment efforts.

Albertson learned of the camp after receiving a flier about it at his Goddard, Kansas high school.

“Having connections with the professors here way before I ever started college was very important for my decision to attend Washburn,” Albertson said.

Albertson said that his favorite part of the camp has always been the faculty concerts that are held each evening.

“They emulate everything the guest artists have spoken about during the week,” Albertson said. “You could just see their words come out in their playing.”

When asked why this camp was important he commented on the need for more experts in the field of jazz.

“Jazz is a style of music that is becoming more and more popular and because of that there is a need for more people to be able to teach it,” Albertson said.

For more information about the Coleman Hawkins Jazz Camp, visit the website or contact Craig Treinen at 785-670-1520.