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Fiesta Jazz Festival

About Fiesta Jazz Festival

jazz-festival-student-performersThe Fiesta Jazz Festival offers a unique educational and music performance experience for over 500 middle school, high school and college jazz student performers from across the state. At the same time, for more than 50 years it has given the Fiesta audience and San Antonio community a unique and admission free family event. The Fiesta Jazz Festival is one of Texas’ oldest and is dedicated to presenting the finest jazz, America’s national treasure.

Every year the festival also hosts the Fiesta World Jazz Concert which presents an opportunity for the general public in San Antonio and jazz festival participants to hear performances by outstanding jazz musicians from across the United States. Featured artists present a clinic the following day to connect face-to-face real world insights to all in attendance. John Pattitucci, Bob Moses, Will Kennedy, Ignacio Berroa, Hannibal Lokumbe, Gordon Goodwin, Danilo Perez, Rufus Reid, and Bill Watrous are a few of the artists from past festivals. The 2018 Featured Jazz Artist is Billy Childs.

  • 2018 Schedule of Events

    Friday, April 27

    Fiesta University Invitational

    Pecan Grove, Alumni Pavilion
    1 to 6 p.m.
    1 p.m., St. Mary’s Jazz Octet
    1:45 p.m., St. Mary’s University Jazz Quintet
    2:30 p.m., University of the Incarnate Word Jazz Ensemble
    3:15 p.m., Tarleton State University Jazz Ensemble
    4 p.m., UTSA Jazz Ensemble
    4:45 p.m., St. Mary’s University Jazz Orchestra

    Fiesta Word Class Jazz Concert

    Pecan Grove, Alumni Pavilion
    7 to 10 p.m.
    7 p.m., Audra Menconi Quintet
    8:30 p.m., Billy Childs Quartet

    Saturday, April 28

    Fiesta Jazz Band Festival

    Treadaway Hall, Recital Hall
    8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    8:35 a.m., Connally Midle School I (2C) – Bobby A. Baiza Jr, Director
    9 a.m., Gus Garcia Middle School (2C) – Joseph Lunstrum, Director
    9:25 a.m., Bradley Middle School II (2C) – Emily Gurwitz, Director
    9:50 a.m., Scobee Middle School (2C) – Hector Telles, Director
    10:15 a.m., Wilson & Young Middle School (2C) – Tyler Owen, Whitney Rutledge, Channing Freeman, Directors
    10:40 a.m., Bradley Middle School (3C) – Jett Walker, Director
    11:05 a.m., Cele Middle School (3C) – Gene Centeno, Cathy Humphrey, Directors
    1:30 p.m., Connally Middle School II (3C), Bobby Baiza Jr, Director
    1:55 p.m., Boerne High School II (3A) – David Torch, Director
    2:20 p.m., San Antonio Christian High School (3A) – Dave Eskridge, Director
    2:45 p.m., Jourdanton High School (4A) – Babatunde Onibudo, Director
    3:10 p.m., Boerne High School (4A) – David Torch, Director
    3:35 p.m., Orangefield High School (4A) – Kevin Credeur, Director

    University Center, Conference Room A
    8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    8:35 a.m., Memorial High School (5A) – Steve Montalvo, Director
    8:40 a.m., Jefferson High School (5A) – Jonathan Mireles, Director
    9:05 a.m., Harlandale High School (5A) – Juan Rodriguez, Director
    9:30 a.m., Medina Valley High School (5A) – Carlos Jimenez, Director
    9:55 a.m., Connally High School (5A) – Iram Reyes and Jaon Russell, Directors
    10:20 a.m., CC Winn High School (5A) – Alejo Garza Jr, Director
    10:45 a.m., Peace High School (5A) – Adrian Martinez, Director
    11:10 a.m., Sunset High SChool (5A) – Rametria Smith, Director
    1:30 p.m., Churchhill High School I (6A) – Charles Stollon, Director
    1:55 p.m., Reagan High School (6A) – Scott McDonald, Director
    2:20 p.m., Lee High School (6A) – Hugo Escobedo and Alex Yanez, Directors
    2:45 p.m., New Braunfels High School (6A) – David Eckert, Director
    3:10 p.m., San Marcos High School (6A) – Juan Cavazos, Director
    3:35 p.m., Johnson High School (6A) – Rene Pena, Director
    4 p.m., Eagle Pass High School (6A) – Martin Padilla, Director
    4:25 p.m., Skyline High School (6A) – Jesse Provo, Director

    Jazz Clinic

    University Center, Conference Room A
    Noon to 1 p.m., Jazz Clinic with Billy Childs

    Jazz Orchestra of San Antonio

    University Center, Conference Room A
    5 to 5:45 p.m., Jazz Orchestra of San Antonio performance

    Closing Ceremony and Awards

    University Center, Conference Room A
    5:45 to 6 p.m., Award ceremony for middle schools and high schools

  • About the Featured Jazz Artist: Billy Childs

    Jazz pianist/composer Billy Childs remains one of the most diversely prolific and acclaimed artists working in music today. Childs’ canon of original compositions and arrangements has garnered him the 2013 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship (2009), sixteen Grammy nominations, and five Grammy awards, most recently for Best Jazz Instrumental Album (“Rebirth”). Previously he won for Best Arrangement, Instrumental & Vocal (featuring Renée Fleming and Yo-Yo Ma) in 2015 for ‘New York Tendaberry’, from his highly successful release Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro. Other Grammy wins include Best InstrumentalComposition for ‘The Path Among the Trees’ (2011) and ‘Into The Light’ (2005), from his much-heralded jazz/chamber releases, Autumn: In Moving Pictures and Lyric. Downbeat magazine states, “…Childs’ jazz/chamber group has taken the jazz-meets classical format to a new summit.”

    Born in Los Angeles in 1957, Childs was already proficient at the piano by age 6; he was accepted in USC’s Community School For The Performing Arts at age 16, studying music theory and piano with some of the world’s most renowned musical scholars. He graduated from USC in 1979 with a degree in composition. Among Childs’ early influences: Herbie Hancock, Keith Emerson, Chick Corea and others. He credits classical composers such as Paul Hindemith, Maurice Ravel, and Igor Stravinsky for also influencing his love of composition. Child’s performing career was also enriched with early-career apprenticeships with legendary jazz trombonist J.J. Johnson, and trumpet great Freddie Hubbard, in the late 1970s/early 1980s.

    Childs released his first solo album, Take For Example, This… in 1988, on Windham Hill Jazz Records. It was the first of four raved-about albums on the imprint, culminating with the acclaimed Portrait Of A Player, in 1993. In 1995 Childs’ released I’ve Known Rivers on Stretch/GRP Records. In 1996 he released The Child Within on Shanachie Records. Songs from both recordings garnered his first Grammy nominations.

    Childs’ multiple musical interests also include collaborations, arrangements, and productions for other acclaimed artists, including Yo Yo Ma, The Kronos Quartet, Wynton Marsalis, Sting, Chris Botti, and Leonard Slatkin, among others. He has received orchestral commissions from The Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Los Angeles Master Chorale, The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and The Lincoln Jazz Center Orchestra. In 2013 he premiered “Enlightened Souls” a commission from Duke University featuring Dianne Reeves and the Ying Quartet, to commemorate fifty years of African-American students attending the school. In 2016, he premiered the piano quintet, “The Bird, The River, The Storm”, also with the Ying Quartet (a piece they commissioned).

    In 2014 Childs released Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro (Sony Masterworks), which was produced by Larry Klein and features Reneé Fleming, Esperanza Spalding, Alison Krauss, Shawn Colvin, Rickie Lee Jones, Becca Stevens, Ledisi, Chris Botti, Yo-Yo Ma and Susan Tedeschi. In Spring 2017 he reaches back to his jazz roots with Rebirth, a quartet album and his debut on the Mack Avenue label.

  • Past Artists

    Al Porcino
    Maynard Ferguson
    Dizzy Gillespie
    Michael Brecker
    Al Porcino
    Peter Erskine
    Mike Mainieri
    Eddie Gomez
    Eliane Elias
    Paquito D’Rivera
    Dizzy Gillespie
    U.S. Air Force Dimensions in Blue
    Willie Thomas
    Bunky Green
    Bobby Shew
    Rufus Reid
    Bill Watrous
    Bobby Meyer
    Jon Faddis
    Jazz Orchestra of San Antonio
    Don Menza
    Tuck Andress
    Patti Cathcart
    US Army Jazz Ambassadors
    Jim Cullum
    Valerie Washington
    Vital Signs Septet
    Bob Moses Trio
    Marvin Stamm
    George Garzone
    John Lockwood
    James Polk
    Akira Tana
    Nobuko Trio
    Marcus Belgrave
    Hal Galper
    Ignacio Berroa
    Kenny Garrett
    Kenny Kirkland
    Jeff Watts
    Nat Reeves
    Terence Blanchard
    Phillip Manuel
    Mark Schim
    Edward Simon
    Jeff Clapp
    David Pulphus
    Kenny Werner
    Bob Gullotti
    Wayne Bergeron
    Danilo Perez
    Adam Cruz
    Ben Street
    Patrick Cornelis
    Miro Sprayue
    Peter Slavor
    Paul Wiltgen
    Bob Mintzer
    Steve Allee
    Duduka Da Fonseca
    Gorden Goodwin
    Hannibal Lokumbe
    Rakalam Bob Moses
    Michael Gregory Jackson
    Phil Grenadier
    Will Kennedy
    The Powerhouse Big Band

Sponsored by St. Mary’s University Department of Music, Fiesta San Antonio Commission, The Ruth Lang Charitable Fund and the San Antonio Opera Agency Fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation.

Support Fiesta Jazz Festival

jazz-festivalYou can help create unique educational and music performance opportunities for St. Mary’s students and middle school and high school students from across the state by supporting Fiesta Jazz Festival. Your proceeds will directly support keeping this San Antonio Fiesta and educational tradition alive. Click the button below and customize your gift in the “Other” category to support Fiesta Jazz Festival.

Give to Fiesta Jazz Festival

Interested in becoming an official event sponsor? Contact John Rankin at St. Mary’s University at 210-436-3421 or

Participate in Fiesta Jazz Festival

Fiesta Jazz Band Festival is San Antonio’s oldest educational jazz festival, attracting junior and senior high school jazz ensembles from Texas and neighboring states. Participants perform for criticism before a panel of renowned jazz clinicians. Trophies and awards are given for outstanding performances in various categories. A special mid-day clinic is presented by the featured Fiesta Jazz artist. Past clinicians have included Dizzy Gillespie, Bob Mintzer, Gordon Goodwin, Kenny Garrett and Terrance Blanchard.

Festival registration is on a first come basis and automatically ends when all slots are filled. The Festival is open to middle schools and high schools. You may enter for competition, play for critique only, or performance only. If your group is competing you must play in your school’s classification (5A, 6A, 2C, 3C, etc.). Three charts of contrasting styles are required. In the Fiesta tradition, one should be in a Latin jazz style. Each band will be allowed 25 minutes, including set up and strike.

Interested Student Jazz Ensembles wanting to participate in the 56th Annual Fiesta Jazz Band Festival on Saturday, April 28, 2018 are encouraged to complete the online entry form by clicking below.

For more information about Fiesta Jazz Festival and how to participate, contact Edith Ortega at 210-436-3421 or

Register Your Middle School or High School Ensembles

Register your middle school or high school student ensembles to participate in the Fiesta Jazz Festival on Saturday, April 28, 2018 with students from across the state.

Entry Fee: $235 per group

A CD recording of your performance is included. Please make checks payable to St. Mary’s University Music Department. Upon closure of festival entries we will mail you an acceptance letter with detailed performance information.

Entry fee and application must be received no later than March 23, 2018 to guarantee entry.

Remit to:
St. Mary’s University
Fiesta Jazz Festival
Department of Music
One Camino Santa Maria
San Antonio, Texas 78228-8562

Fiesta Jazz Band Fesitval Group Entry Form

  • Category of Entry * Required
    Select one.
  • (UIL, etc.)
  • Mailing Address * Required
  • Price: $235.00
    This is your total entry fee amount due for this group. Upon closure of festival entries we will mail you an acceptance letter with detailed performance information. Please make checks payable to: St. Mary's University Music Department. Remit to: St. Mary's University Fiesta Jazz Festival Department of Music One Camino Santa Maria San Antonio, Texas 782228-8562