Downbeat Award-winning USU Jazz Orchestra will perform a concert to help fund their upcoming European Tour where they’ll perform in jazz festivals in France, Switzerland and Italy.

The Utah State University Jazz Orchestra and the faculty jazz combo will host a benefit concert to help fund their upcoming European tour at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the Russell/Wanlass Performance Hall, 600 N. 1150 East.

“The concert is help us fund one of the first times that the university is stepping out in the international music world,” orchestra member and trumpet player Sam Dickson said. “Coming to that would help us, but it’s also a chance to see some of the best prepared music that the school has done in a long time.”

The orchestra, composed of USU students, was invited to perform in some of the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals, including Jazz Vienne in France, Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and Umbria Jazz in Italy, among others. The orchestra will leave on Thursday and tour Europe for 13 days.

The invitations to perform at the festivals are, according to USU Jazz Orchestra Director Max Matzen, an extension of the success the orchestra had with the release of the Europa CD in 2014, which earned Downbeat Magazine’s Outstanding Performance by a Large Ensemble Award.

“It won a Downbeat Award and that’s the first time that’s happened here,” Matzen said. “This Tour de Europe is kind of follow up to that. We received an invite from these festivals because of the success we had with the recording.”

Dickson said the orchestra has been working hard to prepare for the tour by practicing individually and as sections.

According to Matzen and Dickson, the members of the orchestra are nervous and excited for the tour.

Matzen said. “Not just excited, they’re like freaking-out excited," Matzen said. "They’re starting to get it.”

Although the Jazz Orchestra and the faculty jazz combo will be traveling to Europe together, they will perform different sets and at different venues, according to Matzen.

The concert will be hosted by Craig Jessop of the music department and will feature the orchestra’s full set, according to Matzen. He said the concert would also help the students prepare for the tour.

“It is a benefit concert so it will be trying to fundraise the tickets,” Matzen said. “We also have an Aggie Funded Page that we’re going to have people donate toward should they be able to do so and wanting to do so.”

The tickets for the concert are $25 each and available for purchase online on the Music Department’s website or at the USU Ticket Office. For more information or to donate, visit usu.edu/aggiefunded/jazz.

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