The Alma College Percussion Ensemble, founded in 1989 by David Zerbe, is a multi-faceted performance ensemble. The group performs traditional chamber music as well as world music, jazz, and steel drum music. The group has been featured performing Orff's Carmina Burana and Schedrins's Carmen with the Alma Symphony Orchestra. Upcoming performances include "RESONANCE" a celebration of the performing arts at the Detroit Opera House on Sunday, March 4, 2012. Members of the ensemble are in demand throughout the state as private instructors, and percussion ensemble and marching percussion coaches. In addition, the percussion ensemble co-hosts the Alma College/ Hohner Institute of Percussion "Summer Percussion Workshop" in affiliation with Yamaha Corporation of America's "Sounds of Summer Camps." This comprehensive two-week hands-on workshop provides participants with a broad experience in percussion instrument performance. Please contact the Alma College Percussion Studio for more information at email@example.com
Western Michigan University's award-winning Advanced Jazz Combo is directed by Dr. Scott Cowan. The ensemble includes premiere jazz studies students from WMU's jazz studies program. The combo's repertoire of originals and arrangements is composed exclusively by ensemble members. The AJC has received an Outstanding Small Ensemble awards, and outstanding soloist awards, at the Elmhurst and Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festivals. It has performed multiply times at the Detroit International Jazz Festival where members received outstanding soloist awards. It has been a featured collegiate ensemble at the Jazz Education Network Conference and the Michigan Music Conference, and has performed with jazz artists Ingrid Jensen and Donny McCaslin. The group has also appeared at the International Association of Jazz Educators in New York City, with guest artists Stefon Harris, Fred Hersch and Billy Hart. The ensemble's recent CD Rhythm Spirit is available on Sea Breeze Records.
Jazz Band 1 is Notre Dame's top performing jazz ensemble, consisting primarily of non-music majors from every field of study at the University. Selected by audition at the beginning of the school year, the members rehearse 90 minutes a week. The group has three primary goals: (1) to play a variety of musical styles within the jazz idiom, (2) to perform original arrangements from major jazz orchestras such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Woody Herman, Thad Jones-Mel Lewis, Clayton-Hamilton, etc., and (3) to encourage students in the group to develop and display their skills at improvisation. The University of Notre Dame Jazz Band annually plays at four campus concerts and does a concert tour to Chicago. At Notre Dame's CJF, director Larry Dwyer twice was named Best Trombonist, was the student leader of ND's jazz band and combo at the 1966 CJF, and served as a CJF judge in 1987. He is now in his eleventh year as director of jazz studies at Notre Dame. Director Matt Merten founded Notre Dame's New Orleans Brass Brand, and is in his seventh year as a band director at the University of Notre Dame.
Western Michigan University's award-winning University Jazz Orchestra is directed by Dr. Scott Cowan. The 17-member ensemble has received international acclaim for its high performance standards and creative approach to big band jazz. Recent recognitions include 1995 and 1998 winner in the college big band category of the Down Beat magazine annual "DB" student music awards, a heralded performance in New York City's Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, thirteen consecutive performances at the Detroit International Jazz Festival, and annual Outstanding Band recognitions at the Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival. The ensemble's CDs, Spritely Overdue, Disposable Income, Blue Miles, Sweet Tango, Cosmosis, and Boogaloo Land, have received rave reviews in Down Beat Magazine and numerous other publications. They are all on Sea Breeze Vista Recordings.
The UAF Jazz Band was established in 1971 and has toured extensively in Alaska, the lower forty-eight and Europe. They have appeared at the Montreaux and North Sea jazz festivals as well as the Notre Dame Jazz Festival and the Northwest MENC Conference. They have performed with such jazz greats as Bobby Shew, Marvin Stamm, Conrad Herwig, Frank Mantooth, Rob McConnell, Ernie Watts, Steve Weiss and many others. UAF Jazz @ Six was formed in 2010 to be a little big band format ensemble in addition to the UAF Jazz Band. The ensemble offers the flexibility to accommodate more students in the jazz program, allow for special projects such as the Notre Dame Jazz Festival and to explore a different portion of the jazz repertoire.
The VCU Small Jazz Ensemble is the combo component of the VCU Jazz Studies Program. Though there are six SJEs active at VCU during any given semester, today we are featuring a quintet drawn from the VCU Jazz Orchestra I, with members who have a long history of musical projects together. Today's ensemble is self-directed; yet all but one are also members of a formal SJE led this semester by VCU Prof. Brian Jones, and they have benefited from a range of instructors and opportunities in recent years. The musicians, all undergraduate Jazz Studies majors, are Myrick Crampton, tenor saxophone; Victor Haskins, trumpet; Brian Mahne, piano; Andrew Randazzo, bass; and C.J. Wolfe, drums.
The University of Notre Dame New Orleans Brass Band plays traditional and contemporary New Orleans music and features songs in the style of groups such as the Rebirth Brass Band, the Youngblood Brass Band, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Traditional brass bands in New Orleans combined European march music with the African rhythms and improvisation elements of funk and hip hop music. Notre Dame's Brass Band performs at numerous events each year, including concerts at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, informal performances at Legends and Reckers on campus, and at off-campus venues. The group also tours to Chicago annually with Notre Dame's Jazz Band I. Director Matt Merten founded Notre Dame's New Orleans Brass Band in 2004, and is in his seventh year as a band director at the University of Notre Dame.
The Bowling Green State University Jazz Lab Band 1 has been in existence since the 1960s. Since taking over as director three years ago, David Bixler challenges the ensemble by exposing the students to the tradition as well as current trends in the music. Recent concerts have included guest artists such as bassist Rodney Whittaker, pianist Arturo O'Farrill, and saxophonist Rich Perry. Later this year the band will present a concert with saxophonist Steve Wilson.
The VCU Jazz Orchestra I is the most visible component of the VCU Jazz Studies Program. The ensemble has received Down Beat "Outstanding Performance" awards in the big band, combo, soloist, and vocalist categories; has appeared at the Smithsonian Institution, the International Association for Jazz Education Conference, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, The Midwest Clinic; and has performed multiple times at the Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival. The ensemble periodically tours locally, regionally, or nationally in various years and has appeared with a long list of acclaimed musicians. All of its members are undergraduate Music majors, with the majority Jazz Studies majors. Consistent with VCU Jazz's mission statement, the ensemble performs a body of work that spans from past jazz masters to current student compositions and arrangements, covering a wide range of styles that will prepare students for their future careers. It is led by Antonio García, VCU's Director of Jazz Studies.