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Wyoming Musician Creates Big Band Video To Help Other Musicians

Ben Markley

As people stay at home due to COVID-19, it's harder for musicians to play music together. And a lot of them miss it. So one Wyoming artist came up with a creative way to collaborate.

Ben Markley is a jazz pianist and the director of jazz studies at the University of Wyoming. He also performs across Colorado's Front Range.

"Myself and a lot of other musicians lost work for several months," Markley said. "In addition to the financial ramifications for a lot of people, there's also just the personal and artistic ramifications that go along with not being able to make music with other people."

So in an effort to solve both those problems, he teamed up with colleagues across the country to create one big band video. Five saxophones, four trombones, four trumpets, a bass, a piano, and a drum set crashed into one rollicking tune of Markley's own composition.

The video also raises funds for artists in need. It links to two organizations, both with COVID-19 relief funds for artists. One is the Wyoming Arts Alliance and the other is a national organization called ArtistRelief.Org.

"I hope people watch the video and share it," Markley said. "Some people see it and they donate. Other people may not have the means to do that and so they share it maybe to someone who can."

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Erin Jones, at ejones29@uwyo.edu.

Erin Jones is Wyoming Public Radio's cultural affairs producer, as well as the host and senior producer of HumaNature. She began her audio career as an intern in the Wyoming Public Radio newsroom, and has reported on issues ranging from wild horse euthanization programs to the future of liberal arts in universities. Her audio work has been featured on WHYY Philadelphia’s The Pulse and the podcast Out There.

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