Joe Wyatt
Published May 18, 2017

Success is June Jazz at Amarillo College, which is preparing to host its 22nd season of free outdoor concerts on Tuesday nights in June at the Washington Street Campus.

June JazzThe concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. and take place on the south porch of the Experimental Theatre just east of the AC Clock Tower. Concert-goers are invited to bring blankets and lawn chairs and relax throughout the pedestrian mall.

June Jazz also will be broadcast by AC radio station FM90, so jazz aficionados can listen live to each concert from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on either 89.9 FM or at on the web.

June Jazz is sponsored by the Art Force, a branch of the Amarillo College Foundation that supports the arts both at the College and within the community. This season’s concert schedule is:

  • June 6 – Polk Street Jazz
  • June 13 – The Martinis
  • June 20 – Pat Swindell and Esquire Jazz
  • June 27 – Jim Laughlin

Audiences just keep growing for June Jazz, a tradition begun more or less by accident in 1995, when Dr. Jim Laughlin, professor of music, rolled a piano outdoors to entertain about a dozen students and friends. It became a sensation and has been repeated every year since, but on an ever-growing scale.

The free concerts were conducted for many years in the amphitheater, known as the Pit, just south of the Concert Hall Theater. But when crowds began to eclipse 350 or so, June Jazz was relocated to the porch at the Experimental Theater.

Laughlin, who also performs with Amarillo Symphony on both clarinet and saxophone, continues to organize (and perform in) June Jazz. He says the Tuesday-night audiences have grown in recent years to about 700 folks per evening.

“It’s a family dominated crowd, and we see a lot of the same faces,” Laughlin said. “I think it’s safe to say that June Jazz has a loyal following that continues to grow. We find that very gratifying, indeed.”