Lance Boyd, founder of the annual Buddy DeFranco Jazz Festival, gets his own turn in the limelight this month as honoree at the annual Odyssey of the Stars – A Celebration of Artistic Journeys, 7:30 p.m. March 4, at the UM Dennison Theatre.
The College of Visual and Performing Arts honors Professor Emeritus Boyd, who has inspired countless students during his 43-year teaching career at UM. In addition to founding the festival (now in its 37th year), the accomplished music educator, trombonist and jazz ambassador developed UM’s Jazz Program.
Boyd is largely responsible for putting jazz on the map in western Montana. In 1970, he took over the nascent jazz band at the University of Montana and laid the groundwork for the Jazz Program which currently consists of four big bands, seven combos, and a jazz degree with courses in improvisation, arranging, pedagogy, and history.
His creation, the Buddy DeFranco Jazz Festival, brings some of the greatest jazz musicians in the world to UM, and provides top-notch entertainment to fans in Missoula and beyond.
A great faculty citizen, Boyd served ably on a variety of university and department committees. He was highly regarded by administrators, faculty, staff, and within the Missoula community. In 1998, he was awarded the Distinguished Faculty Member award from UM’s School of Fine Arts. In 2007 he was recognized with a Cultural Achievement Award from the Missoula Cultural Council for “outstanding contributions to the quality of life in Missoula,” and in 2009 was named to the Missoula Blues and Jazz Society’s Hall of Fame.
He inspired countless students during his tenure at UM. His low brass and jazz students have gone on to receive scholarships and teaching appointments at the most prestigious graduate programs and conservatories in the country; and hundreds of his students have professional careers as both musicians and music educators. His legacy as a teacher and mentor will live on for generations, as his former students are teaching in universities, colleges and public schools around the United States.
The evening also spotlights the talents of students from the Schools of Art, Media Arts, Music and Theatre and Dance, and benefits the College of Visual and Performing Arts Scholarship Fund. Call 243-4970 or visit umt.edu/umarts/odyssey for details; head to griztix.com for tickets.