Deep Dish Music Festival Brings College and High School Performers to Columbia

On March 4, local college and high school ensembles gathered at Columbia College Chicago to celebrate and cultivate their unique musical talents.

Ensembles from nine local colleges and high schools recently participated in Columbia College Chicago’s 5th Annual Deep Dish Music Festival. Presented by Columbia’s Music Department, this day-long celebration featured musical performances, workshops facilitated by music professionals, and, of course, Chicago deep dish pizza. This year’s guest artist Woody Goss—renowned keyboardist for the funk rhythm section and internet phenom Vulfpeck—led Master Classes as well as performed in a concert alongside student ensembles.

Organized by Joseph Cerqua, creative director and producer in Columbia’s Music Department, Deep Dish connects aspiring musicians to musical professionals from Columbia’s faculty and staff. “It is designed to reflect the department’s distinctive focus on contemporary and popular music and to provide a dynamic festival experience for students and student ensembles,” wrote Sebastian Hudyts, Music Department Interim Chair, in his welcome letter to attendees.

The high school ensembles included those performing jazz, blues, rock, and big band, with each ensemble adjudicated by Columbia Music faculty who specialize in the ensemble’s musical genre. Workshops covered topics such as the business of music, songwriting, interactive media, and preparing for college auditions.

“What makes Deep Dish unlike any other college or high school music festival is that visiting ensembles are busy and engaged from the moment they walk in until the time they leave,” Cerqua says.