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Twenty-seven years ago, Keith Brown wanted to find a way for the UT jazz program to give back to the community.

bobi-jazz-totsBrown, now a senior lecturer and adjunct associate professor of percussion, created Jazz for Tots—a benefit concert for the US Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign featuring student jazz ensembles.

The 27th Annual Jazz for Tots concert will take place at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, November 30, in the Sandra G. Powell Recital Hall of the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center. Admission is a new unwrapped toy or a monetary donation.

Brown asks students in small jazz ensembles to come up with ten-minute holiday arrangements to perform at the concert.

“Jazz for Tots is good for the students because it allows them to work on their arrangements and it gives them a challenge to help the community,” Brown said.

He said students are excited to outdo the previous year’s arrangements and contribute to children in need.

“The tradition element has made the whole thing a bit of a competition for students,” he said.

Brown said the concert typically brings in three to four barrels of toys, all of which are distributed to area children during the holidays.

“Jazz for Tots has been a great outlet for our students to perform their jazz arrangements of seasonal standards, and has drawn an enthusiastic audience who enjoy hearing unique versions of these familiar tunes,” said Mark Boling, coordinator of the studio music and jazz program.



Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,