On Saturday at 7:30 p.m., BYU-Idaho’s music department will host its 25th annual Jazz Fest concert in the BYU-Idaho Center, featuring Chilean saxophonist Melissa Aldana.

Aaron Miller, the Jazz Fest director, shared that guest artists are brought in annually to play and perform with BYU-I’s big band, Sound Alliance.

Student playing drums in rehearsal

Student playing drums in rehearsal. Photo credit: Emily Ormston

“It’s such a cool time for the students to get to interact with a professional musician, somebody doing what they hope to do at some point,” Miller said.

Aldana is a Chilean jazz artist. Miller shared that Aldana comes from a family of saxophonists. When Aldana moved from alto to tenor sax, she began playing on her grandfather’s saxophone.

Sound Alliance rehearsing for Jazz Fest.

Sound Alliance rehearsing for Jazz Fest. Photo credit: Emily Ormston

When Miller reached out to Aldana inquiring about numbers to be played with the band, Aldana sent two brand-new pieces. Miller shared his admiration for her creativity and continuing activity in jazz.

“There’s this really unique sound that she creates,” said Miller. “When we’re selecting a jazz artist, what we’re looking for is somebody who’s an artist that brings something new to the table, and Melissa definitely does that.”

Students rehearsing.

Students rehearsing. Photo credit: Emily Ormston

Jazz Fest began Thursday, giving students from surrounding schools an opportunity to participate in musical workshops in the Eliza R. Snow Performing Arts Center.

The visiting students will work with and receive feedback from guest clinicians and university faculty. The music department sponsors a jazz honor band which pulls musicians from the schools attending the festival.

Aaron Miller conducting

Aaron Miller conducting. Photo credit: Emily Ormston

With it being the anniversary of Jazz Fest, the jazz honor band, an alumni band and Vocal Union will be featured at the concert on Saturday. Aldana will be featured with Sound Alliance in three numbers during the performance.

Tickets can be purchased at the ticket office location or online here.