Jazz Festival

Join us Feb 17-18, 2023

A Celebration of Contemporary Midwest Jazz Composers and the Next Wave of Young Performers Setting the Pace

Friends University is pleased to announce this year’s 30th Annual Jazz Festival will take place Feb.17-18, 2023. We are excited to continue our long-established tradition of two days of performances, clinics and educational opportunities.

The first feature concert of the festival will take place Friday evening, February 17 and will feature the Jazz Vocal Ensemble (JVE) with guest vocalist/pianist extraordinaire, Justin Binek. Justin is an accomplished singer, arranger, composer and educator that hails from Kansas City and is highly regarded in the jazz world. Opening for JVE is our elite student Latin jazz group, Conjunto Latino, which will entice the senses and compel your body to move with the rhythms. 

The final day of the 30th Annual Friends Jazz Festival will culminate with a performance from our top big band, Concert Jazz Band opening up for our headliner, The Project H. Led by prominent KC composer and educator Ryan Heinlein, The Project H. returns to the concert stage amid this first tour since prior to the pandemic.

Order Tickets


Educational Opportunities for High School Bands

As is the Jazz Festival tradition, we will be offering educational opportunities and clinics for instrumental high school and middle school groups from across the state of Kansas. Participants will perform throughout the morning and afternoon of Friday, February 17 and Saturday, February 18. During the performance time, Friends University adjudicators will provide written feedback as well as a clinic with each band.

Friends University jazz ensembles (and guest artists) will perform at noon both days followed by a Q & A session available to all participants. Lunch is available on site at $5 per student.

We are eager to present our degree offerings to high school jazz musicians that are considering a career in music. We have a variety of fine arts degree programs including a B.M. in Music Performance with a Jazz Concentration, which is a major source of pride for Friends University. We are blessed with a robust scholarship program thanks to various patrons throughout the years and are eager to make connections with any prospective students that may benefit from studying in this program.



Performance Information


Jazz Vocal Ensemble, Conjunto, and Guest Artist Q & A

Friday’s free lunchtime concert will feature a glimpse of the evening concert with performances from both groups and Justin Binek. The 30-minute performance will be followed immediately by a question-and-answer session with Justin Binek, Neal Allsup and Miguel Santana Morales, moderated by jazz student, Jonah Schloneger.

Friday, Feb. 17, 12 p.m.
Sebits Auditorium – Riney Fine Arts Center

Latin Jazz Meets Vocal Jazz

Friends’ elite aggregation of music performance majors, Conjunto Latino opens the concert with a variety of Caribbean styles and skilled improvisers. Justin Binek joins the evening’s headliners Jazz Vocal Ensemble for a great set of swing and sophistication.

Friday, Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m.
Sebits Auditorium – Riney Fine Arts Center
Tickets – Adults: $9,  Students & Seniors: $6

Order Tickets



Concert Jazz Band with guests and Q & A from the pros

Saturday’s free lunchtime concert will feature the Friends University Concert Jazz Band. The 30-minute performance will be followed immediately by a question-and-answer time with guest artists from the evening’s headliner, The Project H. Moderated by Senior jazz student, Oscar Ramos.

Saturday, Feb. 18, 12 p.m.
Sebits Auditorium – Riney Fine Arts Center


Friends University Headliner Concert

The Project H. with Concert Jazz Band present original music

Contemporary jazz composition is the flavor of the evening. Although the word “jazz” is the most functional umbrella term for improvised music, this evening will explore the adaptability jazz music provides; swimming across music genres in this enthralling concert of fine originals. Several student composers have stepped up and crafted their own big band compositions for the top Friends University jazz group Concert Jazz Band. After a couple of years grappling with the challenges of offering live music performances throughout the pandemic, Ryan Heinein’s The Project H. stops by amidst a return tour to share their newest set in this finale concert of the 30th annual Friends Jazz Festival

Saturday, Feb. 18, 7:30 p.m.
Sebits Auditorium – Riney Fine Arts Center
Tickets – Adults: $16,  Students & Seniors: $12

Order Tickets

Project H




Dr. Nicholas Schroeder, Assistant Professor of Music, Program Director of Jazz



Jazz Festival

Get Registered

High school band directors! Register for the educational clinics during Jazz Fest.