Longtime jazz director at Friends arranging one last Jazz Festival before she retires

February 12, 2019

It’s Lisa Hittle’s last Jazz Festival.

The longtime Friends jazz director is retiring after 30 years at the university, but not before one more installment of the festival she founded 26 years ago.


It happens on Friday and Saturday and will include a variety of free events, including a Friday-night jam session, plus a ticketed concert on Saturday night. 

The festival will attract more than 35 middle school, high school and junior college bands to the Friends campus, where during the day on Friday and Saturday they’ll stage mini-performances in Riney Fine Arts Center, 2100 W. University, that are open to the public and free to watch.




On Friday night, Hittle is putting on a jazz jam session at the Crown Uptown Theatre, 3207 E. Douglas, starting at 8:30 p.m. She’s invited back all her former students and will have people attending from nine different states.

“It will be an incredible night of music,” she said.


The festival’s headlining concert is at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Crown Uptown Theatre and will feature The Four Freshmen, a internationally known group known for its harmonies and arrangements. The concert will also have a performance by a big band made up of Friends University’s jazz alumni.


Tickets to the Saturday-night concert are $10 to $50 and can be purchased at crownuptown.comor by calling the theater at 316-612-7696.

For information, visit friends.edu/jazzfest.



Denise Neil has has covered restaurants and entertainment since 1997. Her Dining with Denise Facebook page is the go-to place for diners to get information about local restaurants. She’s a regular judge at local food competitions and speaks to groups all over Wichita about dining.

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