Brandon Mitchell directs the Elon Jazz Festival and Concert featuring guest artists Al Strong and John Metzger

The Elon Jazz Ensemble and Mitchell present this semester's Jazz Festival and Concert Friday afternoon on Feb. 17 in McCrary Theater.

Elon University will be hosting the Jazz Festival and Concert on Friday, Feb. 17 at McCrary Center for the Arts, featuring Instructor of Music Brandon Mitchell ’16 directing the Elon Jazz Ensemble and local high school musicians.

In addition, guest artists Al Strong and Jon Metzger will be performing. When asked about the Jazz Festival, Mitchell stated that the concert will be a “swinging affair.” Mitchell emphasizes that the event will be a fun and unforgettable experience that should not be missed. He believes that the performances of Al Strong and John Metzger will contribute greatly to the overall excellence of the concert.

The Elon jazz ensemble alongside Mitchell has been working tirelessly to prepare for this event. Mitchell states that preparation can be intense, mainly because the festival is close to the beginning of the spring semester. As a result, students and Mitchell himself must practice more than usual for the show to be of high quality.

Preparation includes group rehearsals, individual practice on the student’s own time and time management. Though it can be difficult to balance extracurricular activities and class work, Mitchell is confident when he says that his students handle each situation like professionals. Mitchell and the ensemble find that performing allows them to “spread light and joy to others’ lives” through their talents. They are able to provide an outlet for people to escape from everyday life.

This is Mitchell’s second semester in his position as director. He and the jazz ensemble have been working hard to build each other’s trust and collaboration skills. Despite being new, Mitchell and his students share the same goal of making music, putting on great performances and becoming better musicians every day. Mitchell hopes that the Elon Jazz Festival continues to be an integral part of the music community here at Elon University. As an alumnus, Mitchell recounts that the festival was present when he attended the university. He is honored to be able to direct the festival and is grateful to the guest artists and the Elon community for always supporting the concert.