USF St. Pete Final Friday series features Jazz Ensemble

Saxophonist Jack Wilkins will lead the USF Faculty Jazz Ensemble at Twilight Jazz by the Bay, held at USF St. Petersburg.

Wilkins, director of the Jazz Studies program in the USF School of Music has performed with well-known artists like John Mellencamp and has also made several jazz recordings, including two of his own albums, Ridge Lines and Artwork.

Other performers include USF jazz drum teacher David Via, jazz guitar instructor and USF Jazztet player LaRue Nickelson and faculty adjunct and bassist Mark Neuenschwander.

The event is part of USF St. Petersburg’s Final Friday series, in which a different campus organization sponsors an event on the last Friday of each month.

Academic Affairs began the series last semester to help build a campus community among faculty and staff, said Holly Kickliter, assistant vice president of university relations.

“Fifty-one new faculty members began teaching on campus last fall semester, and this interdisciplinary event is one way that faculty and staff gather to share ideas and get to know others,” Kickliter said.

This month, USF St. Petersburg is expanding Final Friday to include community members. Kickliter said that Final Friday events will bring campus and community together and will also give people an opportunity to experience St. Petersburg’s rich culture.

USF St. Petersburg regional chancellor Karen White, who will join Assistant Vice President for Administration and Finance Abdul Nasser in hosting the hour-long event, explained that the university has a responsibility to promote the city’s culture.

“Our waterfront campus resides downtown, among parks, shops, restaurants, art galleries and museums,” White said. “The city of St. Petersburg was recently recognized as one of America’s most livable communities for its creative economy. Within a creative economy you find artists working with business leaders, and academic study is a critical component of the community. USF St. Petersburg is fortunate to be at the core of the city’s rebirth and takes our responsibility to support our community’s cultural and intellectual life very seriously.”

The event will be held on Harborside Lawn tonight at 5. The concert is a free event for campus and community members.