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CCU’s Jazz Combo wins DownBeat magazine student music award

May 17, 2016
Timothy Hardwick and McKinley Devilbiss

Coastal Carolina University’s Student Jazz Combo has received a first-ever award for outstanding performance as a blues/rock/pop group at the undergraduate level from DownBeat music magazine in its 39th Student Music Awards.

“This is a huge honor as groups that typically win these awards come from larger, more established programs like Miami, Manhattan School of Music and North Texas,” says Matthew White, assistant professor of music at CCU and director of the ensemble. “It’s a great testament to our developing program and our great students.”

The Jazz Combo has been invited to perform at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland on July 2 and 3. Created in 1967, the festival draws more than 250,000 visitors every year for one of the best-known events in Europe.

The group is also performing at jazz festivals in Vienne, France, and Umbria, Italy.

Students in the CCU Jazz Combo are seniors Liz Kelley-Tavernier on vocals, a music major from Myrtle Beach; J.P. Taylor on trumpet and flute, a music major from Myrtle Beach; Timothy Hardwick on guitar and vocals, a music major from Aynor; Wade McMillan on drums, a music major from Murrells Inlet; and McKinley Devilbiss on bass and vocals, a music major from Myrtle Beach.

“I’m expecting to gain a much broader view of the world through visiting and interacting with these cultures,” says Hardwick, who is concentrating his music studies on classical guitar performance.

DownBeat is the longest running international jazz publication in the world. The student music awards are in their 39th year and are awarded based on submitted recordings from various universities and conservatories.