The 34th Annual Illinois Wesleyan University Jazz Festival took place on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan on Saturday, January 24, 2009.
Twenty-eight bands participated in two performance sites. The featured clinician and guest performer for the festival was Steve Houghton, Professor of Percussion at Indiana University. He was sponsored by Pearl, Zildjian, Vic Firth and Remo. The adjudicators besides Mr. Houghton were Brent Wallarab, Indiana University, Randy Salman, DePaul University, Mark Buselli, Ball State University, Jim Warrick, New Trier H.S., and Tom Birkner, Belleville West H.S.
The non-competitive festival began at 8:00. Bands in each performance site played twenty minutes for the adjudicators and audience.
Following their performance one of the adjudicators followed the band into a separate room where they participated one-on-one for a twenty minute session with the band.
A unique aspect of the IWU Festival is the noon-time concert. At 12:4 the IWU Jazz Ensemble began the concert, shortly thereafter joined by Steve Houghton, playing charts he had sent to Wesleyan prior to the festival. The packed house was electrified by Steve's playing and charisma. Following the concert Steve gave a rhythm section clinic for all rhythm players participating at the festival. The other clinicians gave sessions on their instruments as well. One comment from a student attending Steve's clinic, "It was awesome. Several of us got to play the drums and had Mr. Houghton give suggestions for improving. Even better, after we finished he gave us a set of drum sticks or a drum head or a hat"
Steve Houghton again demonstrated why he is considered one of the top drum clinicians in the country. The students at the IWU Jazz Festival benefited from his expertise.