College of Visual and Performing Arts Stories

Jazz4Justice: Charitable Concert Features Harrisonburg Mayor as Guest Conductor

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September 21, 2017 - The Forbes Center for the Performing Arts at James Madison University in cooperation with the Jazz4Justice Foundation will present Jazz4Justice featuring the JMU Jazz Ensemble directed by Dr. Chuck Dotas, the JMU Jazz Band directed by Steve Layman, award-winning faculty members, and special guest conductor Harrisonburg mayor Deanna R. Reed. This annual concert benefits Blue Ridge Legal Services and JMU’s School of Music Scholarships. It takes place on Saturday, October 7 @ 8 pm in the Forbes Center Concert Hall.

Jazz4Justice will feature hits from the big-band swing era, and audience members are encouraged to bring their own instruments to participate in a post-concert jam session in the Forbes Center Grand Lobby.

The first Jazz 4 Justice concert was held at George Mason University in 2001. The concert is now in its 16th year at GMU, and has since spread to six other colleges across the Commonwealth including James Madison University. According to program founder, Northern Virginia attorney and past president of Fairfax Law Foundation Ed Weiner, “the concert is a unique partnership between education, music and law, and it is exciting that JMU is now in its seventh year of holding the event.”

The Jazz4Justice Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the goal of bringing the Jazz4Justice program to universities in Virginia and beyond. Jazz4Justice is financially assisted by a generous grant from the Virginia Law Foundation. The philanthropic arm of the Virginia bar for over 40 years, the Virginia Law Foundation has provided over $25 million in grants to support projects throughout the Commonwealth that facilitate access to justice, improve the administration of justice, and promote law-related education.

Blue Ridge Legal Services, Inc. (BRLS) is a nonprofit charitable law firm providing free legal assistance in civil matters of critical importance to low-income residents of the Shenandoah Valley and Roanoke Valley. The BRLS mission is committed to eliminating poverty-based inequities in the civil justice system. BRLS is dedicated to providing high-quality legal advice and representation to low-income residents, who would otherwise be unable to obtain legal help due to their poverty.

The JMU Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Band were founded in 1971; membership in each ensemble is determined via audition each semester. JMU jazz groups have performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Terrace Theater, Montreux International Jazz and Blues Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival and Virginia Music Educators Association annual convention.

The JMU Jazz Ensemble has been featured with the U.S. Navy Commodores Jazz Ensemble and U.S. Air Force Airmen of Note Jazz Ensemble and at the East Coast Jazz Festival in Rockville, Maryland. The ensemble has performed with renowned artists like Bobby McFerrin and esteemed jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan.

Jazz 4 Justice tickets are $16. For tickets, visit or call the Forbes Center Box Office at (540) 568-7000. 

Published: Thursday, September 21, 2017

Last Updated: Friday, September 22, 2017

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