Peru State College
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News Release

Peru State College Announces Winners of 36th Annual Jazz Festival


( Peru, Neb.) Six area high school and junior high bands recently took top honors at Peru State College’s (PSC) 36th Annual Jazz Festival.


Dr. Patrick Fortney, associate dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and festival coordinator, said, “We look forward to the Jazz Festival every year not only for the rousing music, but also the thrill of the competition. The bands that competed this year were top-notch. Unfortunately, only one can take the top prize in each division, which left our judge making some difficult decisions.”


The winners in each class, and their directors, are:

  • Middle School, Division II – Nebraska City Middle School, Greg Olsen
  • Class D – Pawnee City Senior High School, Andrea Veleba
  • Class C – Johnson County Central High School, Andrew Johnson
  • Class B – Auburn Senior High School, Zac Konrad
  • Class A – Waverly Senior High School, Jim Kucera
  • Class AA – Elkhorn Senior High School, Michelle Bluford


The bands were judged by jazz musician and educator Lise Gilly. Gilly is chair of the Performing Arts Department at Lincoln Park High School in Chicago. Gilly is the founder of a classical chamber group, Musica Pacem, and a Latin jazz ensemble, Grupo Cha Cha. Both are successful free-lance groups in the Chicago area.


Gilly is a noted saxophonist in the Chicago Latin scene, playing with such bands as Merengito and the Ritmo award-winning Carpacho y Su Super Combo.  In addition to her work as a free-lance jazz artist, she was an associate member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago in 1999-2000 and has been the flute/piccolo player for the Kenosha Symphony since 1997. Gilly also serves as manager for The Steve Million Trio, Top to Bottom, and Nigel Mack and The Blues Attack.