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Don Keranen Memorial Jazz Concert/Rozsa Center

In memory of a local musical legend

March 24, 2011

HOUGHTON - Paying homage to a late local musician, Don Keranen, two large jazz ensemble at Michigan Technological University will perform Saturday.

At 7:30 p.m., at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, the Research and Development Big Band and the Jazz Lab Band will perform an eclectic mix of music ranging from classic and modern jazz, Latin jazz, blues, funk, rock and original arrangements.

"Don started the jazz tradition at Michigan Tech in 1967 and his spirit lives on in the dynamic performances of the Research and Development Big Band and the Michigan Tech Jazz Lab Band," said Bethany Jones, marketing manager at the Rozsa Center. "We are proud to honor the legacy of Don Keranen's innovative and passionate dedication to jazz and contemporary music at Michigan Tech, and hope that audiences enjoy the evening's performance."

Born and raised in Baraga in 1942, Keranen was a talented musician associated with the Copper Country. He received his academic music education at Northern Michigan University and graduate studies at the University of Oregon, Jones said. "He also accumulated an enormous breadth of experience, in all genres, as a composer/arranger, sax/flute performer, keyboardist, bassist and was a marvelous vocalist," she said.

Keranen, although a jazz musician, loved all form of music and is considered a "tremendous innovator at Michigan Tech."

"He was not just a professor, he was doing things in the U.P. related to jazz since 1967 until he passed away in 2000," she said.

Keranen started a number of ensembles and classes surrounding jazz at Michigan Tech.

"He started the wind ensemble that is today called Superior Winds," she said.

Keranen also originated the scramble band concept used by the Huskies Pep Band, put the pep band into the now legendary "stripes" uniforms, took the JLB on numerous Caribbean performance tours and developed one of the first all-synthesizer jazz combos, HiTech, in the country.

Ticket prices for the general public are $10 for Adults, $5 for Students, and Michigan Tech Students free with I.D. To purchase tickets contact Michigan Tech Ticketing Services at the Rozsa Box Office at 487-3200, The Central Ticket Office (SDC) at 487-2073 or go online at No refunds, exchanges, or late seating, please.



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