The University of Rhode Island’s Big Band will play the Newport Jazz Festival for the fifth straight year Aug. 6, but that’s not the only summertime musical treat being offered by the band’s musicians.

In addition to recent performances at the Newport Jazz Festival, the URI Jazz Big Band has in the past performed at Lincoln Center, taken first place at the MIT New England Intercollegiate Jazz Festival, and performed at many concerts and events on campus and throughout New England.

As part of URI’s 125th Anniversary celebration, the URI Jazz Concert Series will offer free performances at six community venues Aug. 1 through 4.

“The seven-member ensembles for the Jazz Series are made up of students and alumni who have performed with the Big Band for several years,” said Joe Parillo, URI professor of music and jazz studies. “These are going to be exciting, intimate concerts. Our musicians will play tunes from the Great American Songbook, including some Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder and jazz standards. But our musicians are going to put a fresh take on them with dynamic vocal and instrumental performances.”

“The audiences are really going to enjoy watching and hearing these young performers making music,” said Parillo, a respected jazz pianist and recording artist.

He said the strength and visibility of the jazz program at URI, particularly the exposure gained from playing at one of the world’s legendary festivals, has attracted increasing numbers of students from around the Northeast and the nation.

“Whenever we play in Newport, we hear comments from legendary musicians, such as, ‘Wow, what a great band. You must have a great program.’ People in the crowd have stopped me and told me our performers play at a professional level,” Parillo said.

James Himmelmann, who earned his bachelor’s degree in music from URI in May and who is now pursuing a master’s degree in jazz composition, will play in the Newport event and lead the ensemble at the community events.

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Joining Himmelmann, Chilton, Larkin, Allen, Magno and Motroni at The Newport Jazz Festival are: Andrew Hellwig – tenor saxophone – of Mashpee, Mass., class of 2019; Joel Caputo – alto saxophone – of Hopkinton, R.I., class of 2018; Jessica Kilpatrick – baritone saxophone – of Webster, Mass., class of 2017; Jason Taylor – Trumpet – of Johnston, class of 2018; Robin Hall – trumpet – of North Smithfield, class of 2020; Manuel Morales – trumpet – of Wakefield, class of 2017;  Alyssa Oates – trombone of West Warwick, class of 2018; Nick Casey – trombone – of West Greenwich, class of 2019; Jeffrey Kimmerlien – trombone – of Wakefield, R.I., class of 2020;  Collin Tyrrell – trombone – of  East Bridgewater, Mass., class of 2020; Ryan Tremblay – guitar – of Woonsocket, class of 2019.

The 2017 Newport Jazz Festival presented by Natixis Global Asset Management takes place August 4 – 6 at Fort Adams State Park and the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino. Artists include The Roots; Béla Fleck & The Flecktones; Snarky Puppy; Andra Day; Leslie Odom, Jr.; Branford Marsalis Quartet; Christian McBride Big Band with Special Guests; Cécile McLorin Salvant; Maria Schneider Orchestra; Hudson: Jack DeJohnette, Larry Grenadier, John Medeski & John Scofield; Trombone Shorty, Rhiannon Giddens; Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith and many more. Stay tuned for additional information on other festival artists in the coming weeks.

For the complete line-up, tickets and more information, visit

The community URI Jazz Concert Series schedule is:

  • Narragansett Town Beach, North Beach Clubhouse, Aug. 1, 1 to 2:30 p.m. The concert is free, but there are fees to park and to gain admission to the beach.
  • North Kingstown Town Beach, Aug. 1, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Garden City Center GazeboCranston, Aug. 2, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
  • Misquamicut State Beach, Westerly, at Windjammer, Aug. 3, noon to 2 p.m. There is a parking fee at Misquamicut State Beach.
  • Wilcox Park, Westerly, Aug. 3, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Oakland Beach, Warwick, Aug. 4, 6 to 8 p.m.

“These community concerts are a really great opportunity to show the state what we can do, and how hard we work,” said Himmelmann. “The great thing about URI is that we are very dedicated, and we want to prove to people that we have the talent and drive that rival students at any music school.

“There is a certain fire when we play,” said Himmelmann, who has done all of the arrangements for the community concerts. “When we play it’s like magic. It will be a big, robust sound that is going to make you want to move, get up and dance. Every time we perform we give everything we have to the audience.”

The ensemble for the community concerts is made up of James Himmelmann – piano – of Manorville, N.Y., class of 2017, graduate student at URI in jazz composition; William Chilton – trumpet – of Newport,class of  2017, a graduate student in jazz composition;  Collin Larkin – saxophone – of Stonington, Conn., class of 2017; Taylor Allen – saxophone – of Nashua, N.H., class of 2017; Mark Berney – trumpet – of Astoria, Oregon, master’s degree in music, 2007, guest artist and jazz trumpet instructor at URI; Evan Magno – bass – of Cranston, class of  2018; and Nicolas Motroni – drum set of West Warwick, class of 2018; and Jack Thomas, – vocals – of Duxbury, Mass., class of 2016. Domenic Ruggeri of Glocester, R.I. , class of 2010, owner of H30 Productions is providing audio/visual support for the ensemble.