The Calvin Jones BIG BAND Jazz Festival features three university big band jazz ensembles: University of the District of Columbia (dir. Allyn Johnson), Howard University (dir. Fred Irby, III), and the University of Maryland (dir. Tim Powell). The 2019 festival celebrates thirty-three years of world-class jazz with a special tribute to the late Chris Vadala who directed the University of Maryland Jazz Ensemble for twenty-five years of outstanding performances. Produced by the University of the District of Columbia Jazz Studies Program and the Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives, the festival has been overwhelmingly supported by area audiences since 1987.