18th Annual Camerata Awards Concert and Gala, honoring Gordon and Connie Hanks and Henry Wolking

October 01 2018

The School of Music will honor icons of the Salt Lake jazz community at its 18th Annual Camerata Awards Concert Gala on 11/9. Founders of the JazzSLC concert series, Gordon and Connie Hanks, and former U Director of Jazz Studies Henry Wolking will receive their awards at a private dinner and public post-dinner concert in Libby Gardner Concert Hall.

Gordon Hanks fell in love with jazz in a music appreciation class as a sophomore at Granite High. After meeting Connie as an undergraduate at the U, she became a convert as well. According to Gordon Hanks, “The spirit of jazz is one of openness. Jazz is not exclusive, but inclusive. It is America’s classical music.”

In 1994, while working 60 hours a week as a pharmacist and owner of Holladay Pharmacy, Gordon and a friend founded the GAM Foundation to bring nationally renowned jazz artists to Salt Lake City. Almost 25 years and 200 concerts later, JazzSLC has exposed tens of thousands of new fans to jazz music, including legendary performers such as Wynton Marsalis and Ahmad Jamal.

Through the GAM Foundation, the Hanks have given over $1 million to support jazz education from middle school through college. Their generosity has provided discount tickets, program support and scholarships to advance the awareness of and appreciation for jazz.

“A scholarship is the most rewarding gift you can give to a university. It may change a student’s life goals forever,” says Gordon Hanks.

After 40 years as the Director of Jazz Studies, Salt Lake City recognized Henry Wolking as the face of jazz at the U. He came at age 24 fresh from graduate school and started building a nascent jazz program.

During his tenure, the number of jazz faculty tripled, with an instructor specializing in each instrument area. He oversaw the addition of a Master of Music in Jazz Studies. He mentored generations of musicians, music teachers, and composers.

“Henry treated me like an equal, which made me want to work really hard and impress him. He served as a mentor for an entire generation of top jazz players,” explains jazz alumnus (’96) and U faculty colleague Geoffrey Miller.

In addition to his renown as a performer and professor, Wolking made his mark as a prolific and highly diverse composer. Wolking has published over close to 100 works for jazz ensemble, symphony and band. His unique compositional style blends classical music and jazz elements that often depict the landscapes of Utah and surrounding areas.

“As soon as I started playing, there was no question from that point on what I’d do with my life, not ever,” explains Wolking.

The concert features student soloists and ensembles from across the School, including the Michie Jazz Quintet, the University Chamber Choir, and the Wind Ensemble. It includes works by composer Henry Wolking.


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