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The Jazz Studies Program at Ball State University currently offers opportunities with three big bands and a varying number of combos which perform often for dances, concerts, and television appearances throughout Indiana.
The Jazz Lab Ensemble, the flagship group of the Jazz Studies Program, enjoys the reputation of being one of the best collegiate jazz bands in the country. The band has performed twice, in 1985 and 1997, at the International Jazz Festival in Montreaux, Switzerland. In 1988 the ensemble won the Collegiate Division Outstanding Band Award at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Jazz Festival, performing on the evening Festival concert.
Since 1980 the band has received numerous honor band and individual outstanding musicianship awards at the Elmhurst College Collegiate Jazz Festival (Chicago), a feat repeated in 1993 and 1996, when the band was named overall award winner and performed on the evening concert. Seven members also at that time received outstanding musicianship awards, and in 1994 they received the outstanding band and four outstanding musicianship awards. In the spring of 1995, the ensemble was one of eight bands selected to perform at the National Collegiate Jazz Festival in Mobile, Alabama.