The Moab Music Festival’s annual “Winterlude” festival, now in its seventh year, is branching out for the 2023 weekend by focusing on jazz music.

“Chamber music has been the staple of Winterlude,” said Erin Groves, director of development and community engagement. “But we’re also known for branching out and providing a wide range of genres … It was our goal to eventually be able to provide that same musical diversity during our additional concert series throughout the year, including Winterlude. So that was the genesis for this.” 

Winterlude runs from Friday, Jan. 27 to Saturday, Feb. 4, and features the jazz musician Alison Shearer. The festival has two components: student and adult workshops and performances.

All week, the Alison Shearer Quartet, violinist Angelica Salazar, cellist Steven White, pianist Michael Barrett, and violinist Leslie Thompkins—the latter two being the Moab Music Festival founders—will lead in-school workshops for Grand County students; the musicians will also host after-school workshops for students in the BEACON string program. 

Winterlude also includes adult music workshops: adult string players and pianists who signed up are placed in ensembles and coached in daily rehearsals. 

“We’ll be coaching between 50 and 60 students of all ages throughout the week,” Groves said.

At the end of the week, the students and adults will all perform at the Winterlude Showcase on Friday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. at Star Hall. 

“There’s something to be said about seeing someone get on stage who is truly just absolutely refined in what they do—it’s their life’s work to be a violinist or a cellist,” Groves said. “But it’s also really fun and exciting to see your next-door neighbor take a stab at playing some Mozart or Bach with other members of the community—that’s something that I really love about this particular season.” 

The Alison Shearer Quartet will also lead a free improv workshop from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28 at the Grand Center—a chance for community members who may not have the time to sign up for the weeklong workshops to still participate. 

“Bringing a jazz ensemble who has a history of teaching improv seems like a really cool aspect of theirs to take advantage of while they’re here … We wanted to be as accessible with the workshops as possible,” Groves said. “Anyone can sign up for [the improv workshop], on any instrument—Alison Shearer can teach improv on anything.”

The Alison Shearer Quartet will also play at two performances during the week. The first is a free, informal performance, called “Jazz Happy Hour,” at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 27 at Josie Wyatt’s Grille. The second, called “An Evening of Jazz with the Alison Shearer Quartet,” will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28 in the ballroom at the Hoodoo Moab. Tickets for that performance are $30, with the option to add dinner by Josie Wyatt’s for an additional $65—ticket prices go toward maintaining free and low-cost workshops, Groves said. 

“Winterlude is very near and dear to my heart,” Groves said. “Our goal is to serve our community here in southeastern Utah as best we can throughout the year, through live musical performances of professional quality as well as really high caliber education programs to supplement the already fantastic work being done in our community by our year-round music educators. That’s one of the biggest goals Winterlude helps us accomplish … there’s something this week for everybody, and we hope everyone engages with it in some way throughout the week.” 

You can register for workshops or performances at www.moabmusicfest.org/calendar/winterlude.