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URI Big Band Swings in Newport

The University of Rhode Island jazz big band played a 45-minute set this summer on the main stage at the Newport Jazz Festival, one of the most prestigious music events in the country. Joseph Parillo, chair of URI’s music department, says the honor is a testament to the success of the jazz studies program, launched about a decade ago in the music department.

The band’s co-directors Jared Sims and John Monllos took turns at the podium. Sims was enthusiastic about their opportunity. “These kids are going to sit in the same spot where some of the legends of jazz music, like Duke Ellington, have been. To be part of the tradition is great. To be included is fantastic.”

Most of the band members are musicians from Rhode Island. Some are current students; many are graduates pursuing their passion and earning a living as music teachers and performers in local bands.

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