Jazz gala helps raise funds


Kenneth Armant/The Chart

Jazz gala helps raise funds

A dimly lit auditorium set the scene for the smooth jazz program planned for the evening’s entertainment. Taylor Performing Arts Center was the venue of the annual Music Gala on Thursday, Oct. 3.

 “The Music Gala raises funds to support the music department,” said JoAnn Graffam, executive director, Missouri Southern Foundation.  “One way is through the Friends of MSSU music fund which was started by Dr. John Cragin a few years ago … Dr. Cragin actually, each year, also offers a matching gift for part of the funds raised. He continues to support the fund that way.”

Missouri Southern student musicians were represented by the Southern Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Unlimited singers and Chamber singers with a special presentation by a clarinet quartet.

“It is such a great opportunity for the students to showcase their work,” said Graffam  “Particularly this year when we had Seth Ernst the recipient of the Debra Snodgrass scholarship  able to perform so that was real exciting. I think those kinds of things will help that audience grow over time.

Music department faculty Dr. Jeffrey Macomber, Dr. David L. Sharlow and Dr. Cheryl Cifelli directed the student performances.

The event was promoted by local news and media sponsors helping raise public awareness of the event and bringing a large community turnout for the evening’s festivities.

“Attendance has been growing the last few years so we’re real excited about that,” said Graffam. “I know that we did have more in attendance than last year, so we continue to see that trend of growth, which is exciting. It seems that more and more community members are learning about their [students] abilities and their talents and they’ve just decided to support them, both by being there and contributing to their education.”