Michigan Jazz Educators Association
The Michigan Jazz Educators Association aims to actively support jazz education,
performance and
heighten awareness throughout the state, bridging the upper and
peninsula and the Great Lakes area.
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     North / Upper Peninsula
Alpena Community College - Alpena

Interlochen Center for the Arts - Interlochen

Michigan Technological University - Houghton

Northern Michigan University - Marquette

Northwestern Michigan College - Traverse City


Alpena Community College
666 Johnson St.
Alpena, MI   49707-1495
Ph:  989-356-9021
Ph:  888-468-6222

Website:   http://www.alpenacc.edu/index.asp

Jazz Director:   John Schubert, Jazz Ensemble Instructor/Director

Bands:   ACC Jazz Ensemble

Faculty:   http://www.alpenacc.edu/search/personnelsearch.asp

Jazz Events:   http://www.alpenacc.edu/calendar/index.htm

Interlochen Center for the Arts
Interlochen Arts Academy
Jazz Studies Department
4000 Highway M-137
Interlochen, MI 49643
Ph:  (231) 276-7200

Website:   http://www.interlochen.org   ¦   http://academy.interlochen.org/

Jazz Director:  Bill Sears, Director of Jazz Studies, Instructor of Saxophone
                                   Bill Sears Profile
Ph:  (231) 276-7894
e-mail:  searswa@interlochen.org

Bill SearsSaxophonist Bill Sears has served as the director of jazz studies at the Interlochen Arts Academy since 1987.  Sears came to Interlochen from the Chicago area where he led an active career as a freelance musician and teacher at the American Conservatory of Music.  He has toured the U.S. and Europe with the Ray Charles band (1986) and shared the stage with many jazz luminaries including Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Williams, Art Farmer, Geoff Keezer, Rick Margitza, and saxophonist Bill Evans.

As an active performer, Bill has two recent recordings, "Chasin' The Goal" with Margitza joining his quintet, and "With One Accord", his latest CD featuring his current 7-piece group, the Arts Center Jazz Collective.  Each CD features his engaging saxophone along with several original compositions.  Showing respect for the heritage of the tenor saxophone, Sears encompasses the entire spectrum of the instrument's tradition, from lush ballads reminiscent of the great swing and bebop masters to the searing intensity of today's music.  Sears is a performing artist/clinician for the Selmer Corporation in Elkhart, IN.

Faculty:   http://academy.interlochen.org/department/academy-music

Bands:   Jazz Ensemble   ¦  Jazz Combo IAA   ¦  Jazz Ensemble

Interlochen Arts Academy Jazz Ensemble
Bill Sears, Director

IAA Jazz Ensemble
The 17-member Jazz Ensemble is the flagship performing band in the jazz program.  This stellar unit is considered one of the finest high school jazz ensembles in the country while earning numerous awards, including several "db" awards from Downbeat magazine.  It was chosen as a finalist at the 1998 and 2003 Essentially Ellington Competition held at Lincoln Center.

Interlochen Arts Academy Jazz Combo
Bill Sears, Director

Jazz Combo
The Jazz Combo features 6-8 of the more experienced and advanced musicians in the program.  The band provides opportunities for musicians to develop improvisational skills to their highest potential.

Both the Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo bands have performed in Arizona, California, New York, Chicago, and throughout Michigan.

Interlochen Arts Academy, the nation's first and foremost boarding fine arts high school, unites students with others who value their highest aspirations, creating a close-knit artist community. Four-hundred fifty of the world's most talented and motivated young artists study music, theatre, dance, visual arts, creative writing and motion picture arts in a college-like setting.  They find in the Academy a fast-paced, creative environment that challenges, inspires and focuses their talents.  While producing more than 250 artistic presentations in the school year, Academy students also master a rigorous college-preparatory academic curriculum that prepares them to take prominent roles in a whole universe of professional endeavors.

    450+ students
    300+ faculty and staff
    40+ states and 15+ countries represented
    38 Presidential Scholars, more than any other school
    250+ presentations
    Dozens of guest artist master classes annually
    1,200-acre wooded campus with educational, recreational and performance facilities

Since 1987 the jazz program has expanded to include two levels of jazz improvisation, a daily jazz history class, and one combo in addition to the award-winning 17-piece jazz ensemble. The department is recognized as one of the top jazz programs in the country.  During the past 15 years it has earned Downbeat magazine's "db" award 11 times.  The jazz ensemble has twice been named a finalist at the Essentially Ellington Competition held at Lincoln Center (1998, 2003). Alumni of the program can be found at all of the top jazz conservatories and universities, and many are leading active professional careers in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Miami and other major cities.

Distinguished IAA alumni holding professional jazz credentials include saxophonist Bob Mintzer, composer-pianist-bassist Chris Brubeck, drummer Dan Brubeck, violinist Regina Carter, drummer Peter Erskine, vocalist Cedric Dent, drummer Clarence Penn, trumpeter Byron Stripling, trumpeter Allen Vizzutti, trumpeter Walter White, singer Norah Jones, and trombonist Bruce Paulson.

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Michigan Technological University
Visual and Performing Arts-209 Walker
1400 Townsend Dr.
Houghton, MI 49931
Ph:  (906) 487-2067
e-mail:  vpa@mtu.edu

Website:  http://www.mtu.edu/vpa/music/

Jazz Director:   Michael Irish, Associate Professor, Visual and Performing Arts
Ph:  (906) 487-2145
e-mail:  mjirish@mtu.edu

Mike IrishMichael Irish has a broad background in Jazz Studies as both an educator and performer. He holds a B.M.E. from Northern Michigan University and an M.M.E. from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with a thesis in Jazz Studies. Prior to his appointment at Michigan Tech, Irish taught in the Wisconsin Rapids Public Schools and for eight years was the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

As a jazz guitarist, Irish has performed with Clark Terry, Louis Bellson, Dizzy Gillespie, Rob McConnell, Don Ellis, Steve Houghton, and Frank Mantooth, among others.  In the area of popular music, he has worked with Bob Hope, Robert Goulet, Rich Little, Carol Lawrence, and Rodney Dangerfield.

Irish received the Michigan Tech Distinguished Teacher Award for senior faculty in 2001. He is also a jazz adjudicator-clinician and composes and arranges for both large and small jazz ensembles, having studied with Frank Mantooth, Matt Harris and Dick Grove. His publications are available through Really Good Music. He is a longtime member of the International Association of Jazz Educators and in 1985 received the first National Band Association Outstanding Jazz Educator Award. In 1992, he received one of six National Merit Awards from the American College Theater Festival for his 25 original compositions for the blues musical, The Blue Psalms. Two of his arrangements are featured on the latest MTU jazz CD entitled Tech Jazz, and he contributed 7 of his original compositions to the Jaztec CD, Watch Your Step. In 2004, the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra premiered his 7-part jazz suite "Scenes From The Keweenaw" assisted by the Jazz Lab Band. In 2005, he collaborated with playwright M.C. Friedrich to produce the Dead Man's Jazz Club, an original play that which featured 7 of his original compositions for jazz combo. Irish has released two solo jazz guitar CDs, Northern Standard Time, and Last Month Of The Year.

Bands:  Research & Development Big Band, Mike Irish, Director
Affectionately known as the R&D Band, this ensemble's main focus is to provide students with an opportunity to learn and develop the basic skills of jazz performance and improvisation in a large ensemble environment. Admission into this ensemble is open to all students, many of whom have played little or no jazz in the past. Others use the R&D Band as an ensemble where they can keep their jazz skills sharp while waiting to audition for an opening in the Jazz Lab Band. All styles of jazz, Latin-jazz, rock, funk, and ballads are explored by the R&D Band in addition to healthy doses of jazz improvisation. The band struts its stuff in campus concerts every semester, and, in April of each year, does a concert tour of local public schools.

MTU Jazz Lab Band
Mike Irish, Director

MTU Jazz Lab Band

Mike Irish, Director
The award-winning Michigan Tech Jazz Lab Band, under the direction of Mike Irish, is made up of 20 musicians from throughout the country, and features a broad repertoire of music ranging from the Big Band Era to today's contemporary sounds and original compositions. Their busy schedule includes numerous concerts and club dates throughout the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, guest artist concerts featuring performers such as Clark Terry, Louis Bellson, Maynard Ferguson, Byron Stripling, Frank Mantooth, Frank Wess, Wendell Harrison, Woody Herman and the Young Thundering Herd, and the Stan Kenton Orchestra, an annual one-week Midwest Tour, and featured performances at various conventions such as the Midwestern Conference on School Music. The Jazz Lab Band has toured Jamaica six times and been chosen as the Outstanding Large Ensemble at the Aquinas Intercollegiate Big Band Festival, Grand Rapids, MI and the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire Collegiate Jazz Festival on numerous occasions. The students composing this ensemble come from all curricula except music, since Michigan Tech does not offer a music major. A 19-credit minor in Jazz Idiom was instituted during the 2000 - 2001 school year. Their latest CD, Tech Jazz, features both the Jazz Lab Band and the award-winning MTU combo, Jaztec.

Mike Irish, Director
These and other jazz combos provide small numbers of horn players, vocalists and rhythm sections provide a perfect "laboratory" for the study and performance of jazz improvisation, and the development of a strong personal "voice" in the jazz idiom.  MTU offers a variety of small jazz combos for student participation.

JAZTEC is a dynamic 7-piece jazz combo that specializes in contemporary jazz, funk, and original styles. The instrumentation of 3 horns, and rhythm section allows each member ample opportunity to explore jazz improvisation and composition, and to develop an individual style.

MOMENTUM is a dynamic blend of horns, vocal and rhythm section that regularly competes in jazz festivals and has an active performance schedule.
In addition to frequent campus concerts, these combos often perform in local clubs, at jazz festivals, records CD's, and tours with the JAZZ LAB BAND each year. They have been selected as the Outstanding Jazz Combo at the UW-Eau Claire Jazz Festival on three occasions and twice at the Aquinas College Jazz Festival. JAZTEC's first CD, "Watch Your Step," came out in 1998. Admission is by audition when openings occur.

Faculty:   http://www.mtu.edu/vpa/department/faculty/

Jazz Events:   http://www.mtu.edu/vpa/events/

Northern Michigan University
Department of Music
1401 Presque Isle Ave
Marquette, MI 49855
Ph:  (906) 227-2563
e-mail:  music@nmu.edu

Website:    http://www.nmu.edu/music/

Jazz Director:  Mark Flaherty, Assistant Professor of Music
Ph:  906-227-1037
e-Mail:  mflahert@nmu.edu

Mark FlahertyMark Flaherty teaches applied trumpet and horn to majors and non-majors and directs the Northern  Michigan University Jazz Band and Jazz Workshop Ensemble. He also teaches courses in jazz improvisation, survey of jazz, upper brass methods, music theory, and Music in Society (a service course for liberal studies credit). In addition to these duties, he coordinates the technology needs of the Music Department. This includes the planning and maintenance of the Computer Aided Music Instruction Laboratory (CAMIL) and the electronic practice suites that assist students in learning jazz and commercial styles as well as traditional solo literature.

Bands:   University Jazz Band
NMU Jazz BandThe Jazz Band at Northern Michigan University performs many concerts throughout the school year and has toured Michigan's Upper Peninsula as well as Wisconsin. The ensemble performs literature by Thad Jones, Tom Kubis, Bob Brookmeyer, Sammy Nestico, and other fine jazz composers. The Band is the featured ensemble at the NMU Jazz Festival. The Jazz Band has performed and recorded with trumpet and flugelhorn artist, Clark Terry. Here is a picture of Clark rehearsing the band. The 2003 Jazz Festival featured Peter Erskine and the 2004 Festival featured Mike Stern, both performing with the NMU Jazz Band.
The Jazz Band is open to music majors and non-majors by audition. Auditions take place in the first week of the semester. The band meets two days per week, Tuesday and Thursday from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m.

Faculty:   http://www.nmu.edu/music/faculty-directory

Jazz Events:   http://www.nmu.edu/music/UpcomingEvents

Jazz Festival:   NMU Jazz Festival (April 2016)
                                  Guest Artist - Michael Davis, trombone

Northwestern Michigan College
Music Department
1701 E. Front Street
Traverse City,  MI 49686
Ph:  (800) 748-0566
Ph:  (231) 995-1000
e-Mail:  information@nmc.edu
Contact Page

Website:  https://www.nmc.edu/programs/academic-programs/music/index.html

Jazz Director:   Laurie Sears

Laurie SearsLaurie Marino Sears, saxophone and woodwinds, is currently Director of Jazz Bands and an Adjunct Instructor of Woodwinds at Northwestern Michigan College. She is also on the faculty of the Interlochen College of Creative Arts Adult Band Camp,  and she maintains a studio of private students in the Traverse City, Michigan area.  Sears has also taught saxophone and chamber music at Interlochen Arts Academy, Interlochen Arts Camp and Grand Valley State University.  Band directing experience includes Traverse City West Junior High School and Traverse City Christian School. 

While in the Chicago area, Sears directed the Jazz Ensemble and was an Adjunct  Instructor of Woodwinds and Jazz at Columbia College, Concordia University Chicago and Triton College. Laurie performs with the Grand Rapids Symphony, Traverse Symphony Orchestra, Broadway Grand Rapids (DeVos Hall) and Broadway Wharton (Wharton Center, East Lansing).  In addition to leading her own jazz quartet, she performs in concert and at festivals with other jazz artists throughout the state of Michigan.  She is a member of Building Bridges With Music, presenting school concerts and workshops, in addition to being an adjudicator for the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association.  Her performance experience in the Chicago area includes the Ravinia Festival, the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest, the Chicago Jazz Festival, Broadway shows and musical theater productions.  

Sears' jazz and pop music performance resume includes sharing stage time with Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Julie Andrews, Liza Minnelli, Smokey Robinson and the Temptations. Sears holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Saxophone and Woodwinds, respectively, and a Performer’s Certificate in Saxophone from the Indiana University School of Music.  Her teachers include Eugene Rousseau, Fred Hemke, Marcel Josse and David Baker.

Bands:   Jazz Lab Band  ¦  Vocal Jazz Ensemble  ¦   Jazz Big Band

Jazz Lab Band, Jazz Big Band
Laurie Sears , Director
NMC Jazz BandOpen to community members and college students, the NMC Jazz Band is a course for the performer with a focus on big band jazz ensemble techniques and styles. A wide range of jazz styles are covered including swing, be-bop, ballads, rock/fusion and Latin. Some improvisation is explored and always encouraged, though it is not the main focus. A minimum of one concert will be performed each semester and all members are required to attend and participate in all scheduled performances.

Vocal Jazz Ensemble
Mike Davis, Director
NMC Vocal Jazz
This small ensemble of men’s and women’s voices rehearses and performs vocal jazz works. Develop skills in vocal jazz styles, blending harmonies, microphone technique, and jazz theory.

Faculty:  https://www.nmc.edu/programs/academic-programs/music/faculty.html

Jazz Events:  https://www.nmc.edu/programs/academic-programs/music/concert-dates.html

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