Augustana’s School of Music to Host Middle & High Schoolers for 49th Annual Jazz Festival

Festival to Feature Internationally-Touring Pianist Matthew Whitaker
By Jill Wilson | February 13, 2024
49th Annual JUGP logo

The Augustana University School of Music (SoM) is excited to announce that the Augustana Northlanders Jazz Band and Faculty Jazz Combo, along with 800 middle and high school students from three states, will perform during the 49th Annual Jazz on the Upper Great Plains Festival on March 4 and 5, at Hamre Recital Hall in the Fryxell Humanities Center.

On Monday, March 4, competitive middle school bands will perform, as well as high school bands for ratings and comments. The most competitive high school bands will then perform on Tuesday, March 5.

“We are so excited to host more than 800 student-musicians on campus and celebrate jazz music! It is a pleasure to share this art form with everyone and collaborate with new people,” said Augustana Associate Professor and Director of Jazz Studies Dr. Brian Hanegan.

Matthew Whitaker

The jazz festival will feature Matthew Whitaker — an internationally-touring pianist, as well as a Hammond B3, Yamaha and Nord-performing artist — in concert alongside the Northlanders Jazz Band at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 4, at the Washington Pavilion. As the youngest artist to be endorsed by both Hammond and Yamaha, Whitaker has performed at world-renowned venues in the U.S., and in more than a dozen countries.

At just 10 years old, Whitaker was invited to perform at Stevie Wonder’s induction into the Apollo Theater’s Hall of Fame. Since then, he has been on national and international radio and television, which includes the “Today Show” documentary series "Boys Changing the World," “Harry Connick Jr. Show,” an appearance on the syndicated TV talk show “Ellen” and a segment on the most-watched news magazine on television — “60 Minutes.” In 2019 and 2020, Whitaker was the winner of the ASCAP Foundation Herb Albert Young Jazz Composers Award and has been featured on Apple’s “The Greatest” TV commercial.

Schedule of Main Events

Monday, March 4

  • Matthew Whitaker with the Northlanders Jazz Band | 7:30 p.m. | Washington Pavilion | Special opening act is the Lincoln High School Jazz Collective

Tuesday, March 5

  • Matthew Whitaker and Augustana Faculty Jazz Combo Performance | noon-12:30 p.m. | Jazz on the Upper Great Plains Festival in Hamre Recital Hall
  • Matthew Whitaker with the Augustana Faculty Jazz Combo | 7:30 p.m. | R Wine Bar

To learn more about the Jazz on the Upper Great Plains Festival, the full schedule of events and concert tickets, visit

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