VCU Jazz quartet to perform at Nelson Mandela memorial

Cyrus Nuval
Staff Writer

The Virginia Commonwealth University Alumni Jazz Quartet will perform at a memorial service on Wednesday, Dec. 11. for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

The joint jazz project with the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa earned VCU the opportunity to take part in the memorial service, said Antonio Garcia, director of jazz studies in VCUarts’ Department of Music.

The partnership began in March of 2013, when Garcia, as part of the International Partnerships Major Initiative Award, chose the University of KwaZulu-Natal as a sister-school to VCU.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal has worked on numerous music and jazz-related projects with VCUarts’ Music Department and Jazz Studies.

Most recently, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and VCU have worked on the Jazz Bridge to Greater Understanding project, a project where exchange students from both schools transferred schools to perform and study jazz.  

The quartet will perform during the musical prelude hour of the memorial, between 10-11 a.m. VCU Jazz may also reappear during the later parts of the service, Garcia said in the email.

Alumni Brendan Schnabel on the saxophone, Victor Haskins on the trumpet and Reggie Pace on the bass trombone will perform during the event. Garcia will also perform with the quartet on trombone.

Nelson Mandela was a South African president from 1994 to 1999, philanthropist and anti-apartheid activist who served 27 years in prison. Mandela, 95,  died on Thursday, Dec. 5.

As of press time, VCU Music and Jazz Studies instructors could not be reached for a comment.

The memorial service will stream live on the National Cathedral website. <>


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