Shelton State News
Additional Navigation

Shelton State Fine Arts to Host Inaugural West Alabama High School Jazz Festival

West Alabama High School Jazz Festival 2018

March 14, 2018 – High school musicians from throughout West Alabama will perform and learn from one of the nation’s leading jazz educators during the inaugural West Alabama High School Jazz Festival on March 24, 2018, at Shelton State’s Martin Campus. Held in the Bean-Brown Theatre, the festival is free and open to the public.

Hosted by Shelton State Fine Arts, performances from high school jazz ensembles will begin at 10:00 a.m. and continue throughout the day. The event will conclude with a 5:30 p.m. performance by the Shelton State Jazz Ensemble featuring guest artist and educator, Dr. Gordon Towell.

Dr. Towell, a saxophonist and coordinator of jazz studies at Loyola University New Orleans, will perform with the Shelton State Jazz Ensemble and will also teach master classes to participating high school jazz bands. Bands performing in the festival include those from Hale County High School, Northridge High School, Paul W. Bryant High School, Sipsey Valley High School, Tuscaloosa County High School, and West Blocton High School.

“This is the first time Shelton State has hosted such a festival, and we hope it will be the first of many,” said Shelton State music instructor, Dr. Elijah Pugh. “We are hosting the festival to promote live performance of jazz music in West Alabama, to support local band programs and music in schools, and to foster strong relationships between the College and local high schools.”

Shelton State has a long tradition of nurturing young musicians and preparing them for advanced study and careers in music. The Shelton State Jazz Ensemble is led by Dr. Pugh and features both student and community musicians. Dr. Alan Blackshear, retired instructor and founder of Shelton State’s Jazz Ensemble, is featured in the ensemble on bass trombone.

For more information about the West Alabama High School Jazz Festival, contact Dr. Elijah Pugh at To learn more about Shelton State Fine Arts, visit