Jazzing up a Saturday

Thanks to groups of jazz musicians and artists, a Saturday full of torrential rain was livened up for people attending and participating in the 7th Annual Integrity Jazz Festival held at Ann Nicole Nelson Hall on the campus of Minot State University.

From 1 to 8 p.m., jazz tunes filled the air and artists displayed their works. Food was also available at the family-friendly event.

Not to let the soggy weather prevent jazz musicians, artists and patrons from enjoying the day’s festivities, the Integrity Jazz Festival moved their normally outdoor festival to an indoor venue. Minot Area Council of the Arts director Terri Aldrich said they thought about having a tent while still holding the festival outside, but decided to move everything indoors when the weather looked too threatening.

“We are so grateful to MSU,” Aldrich said. “We checked all over town and they were so tremendously accommodating and stepped up and provided help.” That accommodation from Minot State University made it easier to switch venues on such short notice, she added.

This is the first year the Integrity Jazz Festival has been held indoors. Also, last year a silent auction was included in the festival for the first time, Aldrich said. The silent auction was expanded this year as well as the addition of more artists, she added.

Jazz bands and musicians who performed at the Integrity Jazz Festival included Dakota Dixie, The Main Course Jazz Combo, The Clearwater Hot Club, The Danny Green Trio and The Cab Jivers. “It’s all afternoon long of jazz music,” Aldrich said. After the festival, the music continued at a jam session at Seven’s Bar & Grill starting at 9 p.m.

“It’s exciting to hear the buzz in the hallway,” Aldrich said of the jazz music that spilled out of the concert hall and into the lobby. “You can hear the wonderful music from the auditorium. Jazz is a player’s art. They show their artistry and speak conversations through their instruments.”

The Integrity Jazz Festival had many sponsors, but the main sponsor is Integrity Viking Funds. The festival is sponsored by the community, Aldrich said, and volunteers stepped up to support the festival, making the event possible.

Toni Hennenfent, advertising manager at Integrity Viking Funds, said the company suggested sponsoring a jazz festival in Minot seven years ago and has been sponsoring it ever since. “We wanted to take an active part in the community and the jazz music heard here is world class. People love it,” she added.

“We hope it (this year’s Integrity Jazz Festival) will go down in the books as the best ever,” Aldrich said.