NMU Jazz Festival
March 23-25, 2022
The 2022 NMU Jazz Festival will be held on the beautiful campus of Northern Michigan University on Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday, March 23-25. High school and middle school jazz bands and combos in the region are invited to participate. There is a $250 entry fee for each participating ensemble (additional ensembles from the same school can register for $100). Space is limited. The registration deadline is Friday, February 11, 2022. Click HERE for more information and printable (PDF) registration materials.
This year's festival will feature saxophonist, flutist, clarinetist, composer, arranger, and educator Mike Tomaro, who has been the Director of Jazz Studies at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA since 1997. He is a former member of the Army Blues jazz ensemble, and he has four nationally released recordings under his own name that showcase his talents as both a player and a writer. We are very pleased that Mike Tomaro will be joining us for the NMU Jazz Festival this year in Marquette, and we are particularly excited that he will be writing a new piece that will be premiered by the NMU Jazz Band at this event!
Mike Tomaro is a Yamaha Performing Artist.
See Festival details below!
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23
*Middle School Day!*
Morning - MS Band Performances & Clinics (Reynolds Recital Hall)
12noon - Lunch
Early afternoon - MS Band Performances & Clinics (Reynolds Recital Hall)
3:00pm - Improvisation Clinic and Brief Clinician Performance (Reynolds Recital Hall)
THURSDAY, March 24
Afternoon - HS/MS Performances and Clinics (Reynolds Recital Hall)
7:30pm - Opening Concert (Reynolds Recital Hall)
"Meet the Jazztet" - Celebrating 60 Years
Featuring the NMU Jazz Festival Faculty Combo
FRIDAY, March 25
8:00am-5:00pm - Hs/MS Performances and Clinics (Northern Center)
11:00-1:00pm - Lunch and Jam Session
1:00-2:00pm - Guest Artist Clinic (Northern Center)
7:30pm - Final Concert (Northern Center)
Featuring the NMU Jazz Band and Combo with Mike Tomaro
(Tickets will be available through the NMU Ticket Office starting on February 25th)
Jams, Clinics and Workshops
High School and Middle School Performances and Clinics
Registered high school and middle school ensembles will perform in scheduled time slots on Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday (March 23-25) and then get feedback and work with festival clinicians. Performances and clinics will all take place in Reynolds Recital Hall and the newly-renovated Northern Center (formerly the University Center).
Guest Artist Clinic
Mike Tomaro will be presenting an educational clinic at 1:00pm on Friday (March 25) in the Northern Center. This clinic is free and open to the public.
The popular jam session for festival participants will be held from 11:00pm-1:00pm in the Northern Center. Traditionally, jam sessions were the place where emerging jazz artists congregated to try out new ideas and work at perfecting the craft of improvisation. This session will be offered in that spirit, and will provide students an opportunity to practice improvisation and listen to others. The jam session will also feature a blues improvisation competition showcasing the talents of outstanding high school students that have been nominated by their band directors to participate in this event.
Two Evening Concerts!
Thursday, March 24, 7:30 p.m.
Reynolds Recital Hall
"Meet the Jazztet - Celebrating 60 years"
Featuring the NMU Jazz Festival Faculty Combo
Friday, April 9, 7:30 p.m.
Featuring Mike Tomaro with the NMU Jazz Band & The NMU Jazz Combo
Tickets available at the door and in advance through all NMU Ticket Outlets
History of the NMU Jazz Festival
The NMU Jazz Festival is an annual educational event that brings talented high school and middle school students to NMU from throughout the region to celebrate an original American art form - JAZZ!
NMU has presented numerous jazz clinics and concerts over the last fifty years, but the current NMU Jazz Festival began in 1998 when NMU Friends of Jazz (an NMU student organization) invited the legendary trumpeter Clark Terry to perform a concert with the NMU Jazz Band. Several local high school bands were invited to participate in clinics in conjunction with this event, and the positive responses from participants and audience members suggested that an annual jazz festival would be well-received.
Since then, NMU Friends of Jazz has continued to work with the NMU Music Department and the NMU College of Arts and Sciences to bring outstanding jazz artists to NMU on a yearly basis, and the high school and middle school participation in these events has grown steadily - in an average year, more than 25 ensembles (300-400 students) participate in performances and clinics.
The festival is a highlight of the year for jazz fans in the Marquette community.
Past Featured Artists
NMU Friends of Jazz are shown with guest performing artist Regina Carter at the 2015 Jazz Festival. Students not only have a chance to learn from and perform with giants of jazz, they also get to know them personally.
Here are the magnificent musicians we have had the pleasure of hosting over the years:
- 1998 - Clark Terry
- 1999 - Jeff Halsey
- 2000 - Jim McNeely
- 2001 - John Fedchock
- 2002 - Jon Faddis
- 2003 - Peter Erskine
- 2004 - Mike Stern
- 2005 - Steve Turre
- 2006 - Bob Mintzer, Kirsten Gustafson, Kelly Rossum, Dave Ziegner
- 2007 - Dean Sorenson & Randy Sabien
- 2008 - Bobby Shew
- 2009 - Fred Sturm & Bill Carrothers
- 2010 - Kevin Mahogany
- 2011 - Michael Philip Mossman
- 2012 - Ingrid Jensen
- 2013 - Jim Snidero & Kathy Kosins
- 2014 - Stefon Harris
- 2015 - Regina Carter
- 2016 - Michael Davis
- 2017 - Chase Sanborn
- 2018 - Aimee Nolte
- 2019 - Allen Vizzutti
- 2020 - Cancelled (due to COVID-19)
- 2019 - Online Event (due to COVID-19)
Festival Contact Information
If you have any questions regarding the annual NMU Jazz Festival, please contact Mark Flaherty at 906-227-1037.
If you would like to bring your group to the festival and it is past the deadline, please don't hesitate to contact Dr. Flaherty. Occasionally we have extra slots available after the deadline.
Also let him know if you would like to be on the email list for future Jazz Festivals.