By JENNA GIBSON
June Jazz has been making a name for itself for the past 21 years, but it was not until this summer that these free outdoor concerts offered every Tuesday evening in June found new audiences. The performances aired live on AC’s radio station, FM90, 89.9 FM, and at kacvfm.org.
Hundreds of audience members and their pets spread across campus with lawn chairs, picnics and blankets. June Jazz was created in 1995 by music professor, Jim Laughlin.
“It’s a family-dominated crowd, and we see a lot of the same faces,” said Laughlin. “I think it’s safe to say that June Jazz has a loyal following that continues to grow. We find that gratifying, indeed.” Laughlin said the Tuesday-night audiences have increased in recent years to about 700 concert-goers a night.
“June Jazz this year reached a larger audience with the live FM90 broadcast. Beginning in 1996, with a dozen or so in attendance, I never imagined fans would be listening live from London,” Laughlin said. “My cousin and her friends tuned in live from a pub in England, I am so grateful to FM90 and our new School of Creative Arts for making this happen,” he added.
Jill Gibson, associate dean of the School of Creative Arts, said she thinks the popularity and growth of June Jazz is a great example of the benefits the School of Creative Arts offers. The School was established in March to nurture interdisciplinary collaboration among the various arts-related programs at AC.
“FM90 is a great way to share these very talented musicians with a far greater audience than can attend the Tuesday-night performances in person,” Gibson said.
“It is also provides excellent opportunities for our students to help set up and broadcast live events tangible preparation for the jobs they plan to seek. We have a radio station and we have a music department, so it’s a match made in heaven,” she added.
Streaming the concerts online allowed June Jazz to reach an international audience, from Laughlin’s cousin in England to listeners in Germany who shared the link on Twitter, Gibson said.