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Customer Spotlight: University of Idaho’s Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival

One of our favorite clients is the University of Idaho’s Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival that does a different button each year. Here is a brief history of the Festival. In 1967, the University of Idaho hosted the first Jazz Festival, which consisted of a dozen student groups and one guest artist. In 1984, Lionel Hampton pledged his support after being inspired by the enthusiasm of the students and in 1985 the Jazz Festival took on his name. Today, 47 years later, the Jazz Festival hosts thousands of students, spectators, and artists. These artists include: Doc Severinsen, Bobby McFerrin, Sarah Vaughn, Dizzy Gillespie, and The Manhattan Transfer. For four days a year the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival puts on student performances, workshops, clinics, and evening concerts by world-class performers. The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival offers a variety of clinics and workshops, which range in themes from Artist Features to specialized workshops that provide in-depth information, handouts, and the opportunity to sing and play with presenters. These workshop themes are Artist Features, Director Helps, Master Classes, Inspiring Futures Through Jazz, Hands On!, NEW IDEAS!, Dance Workshops, and Thinking About College? These different workshops range from hands on learning with presenters, to helping directors teach jazz, to encouraging visiting students to explore the campus and learn about the University of Idaho. From the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, the Jazz in the Schools program was created (in 1995). This program takes visiting musicians to elementary schools in northern Idaho and eastern Washington to introduce students to this American art form known as Jazz. Forty schools participated in the 2012 Jazz for Schools program, which means that nearly 8,000 elementary, middle, and high school students were reached during the week of the festival. In 2006, a renowned bassist, arranger, composer, jazz educator, and a long time Festival friend John Clayton, joined the Festival as the Artistic Director, which furthered the program. In 2008, the nation’s most prestigious award, the National Medal of Arts, was awarded to the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. This recognition affirmed the vision shared by Lionel Hampton and the University of Idaho about the power of jazz and education to bridge cultures, inspire creativity, and develop the musical leadership abilities of the next generation of jazz leaders. Congress created the National Medal of Arts with the intent to honor artists and the patrons of the arts, and each year, the president awards no more than 12 medals. This award gives a special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support, and availability of the arts in the United States. This year, with a commemorative button to celebrate the 47th Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, businesses around the University of Idaho are participating in giving discounts to patrons who wear the button from January 15th through March 15th 2015.