Ginger Bess Simons 2013
(Source: Jazz at the Station) Ginger Bess Simons, a recent WSU graduate, frequently performs at Jazz at the Station.

On Historic 25th Street, a person can encounter many different styles of everything from food to fashion and music to movies. One opportunity for students to experience live music on 25th Street is Jazz at the Station.

Jazz at the Station is a free concert series held on the second Wednesday of every month at the Union Station, featuring local blues and jazz music. Many of the musicians featured in Jazz at the Station include Weber State University students, graduates and professors.

Originally started by Caril Jennings, the project started in 1998 in the Skyroom at WSU. According to Don Keipp, a former professor of music and frequent performer with Jazz at the Station, Jazz in the Skyroom, as it was originally known, sometimes also included beat poetry. Poets would read their poetry with musicians, often percussionists, playing in the background.

As the years have progressed, so has the program, outgrowing one venue then another, finally moving to its current location at the Union Station on 25th Street.

“No matter who was performing or where it was at, the audience was always appreciative and supportive,” Keipp said. “When the Skyroom was no longer available, we went to the old lunchroom, before the union building was redesigned, then we ended up at the Union Station.”

Keipp said Jazz at the Station has always been successful, drawing large crowds no matter the season or the performer.

“At the Union Station, they always set out quite a few chairs, but they always end up having to add more. It’s always a packed room.”

Nick Maughan, a senior in piano performance, said he heard about Jazz at the Station five years ago, when a friend was asked to perform with Jazz at the Station. Since then, Maughan said, he has enjoyed going to Jazz at the Station many times.

“I really enjoyed the music, he said. “Jazz at the Station has always had really great musicians. And the venue is beautiful. It’s really stunning what they’ve done on the inside of the station and out by the fountain. It’s really beautiful.”

Maughan also recently performed at Jazz at the Station with Ginger Bess Simons, a recent graduate from WSU. Jennings, former public relations representative for the performing arts department at WSU, contacted Maughan and Simons about performing with Jazz at the Station. As a performer, Maughan said he has had many opportunities to “meet a lot of people, a lot of movers and shakers in Ogden City, and I’ve played in a lot of beautiful venues because of my education at Weber State.”

Katherine Johnson, a senior studying vocal performance, said she has enjoyed attending Jazz at the Station events for several years, just as Maughan has. Johnson said one of the things that draws her to jazz music is how different it is from the classical music she studies every day.

“Jazz has a different rhythm and flow to it than any other type of music,” she said. “It’s almost like a different language.”

While jazz is not a style heard frequently on the radio, many find it enjoyable and enlightening.

“Jazz is in the media more than students realize,” Keipp said. “You hear it a lot in television and movies, but you don’t notice it sometimes. Music is kind of like a buffet: If a buffet doesn’t offer certain kinds of foods, you wouldn’t know what they tasted like.”

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