Saxophonist Mike Tomaro performing.

NMU Jazz Festival


Mike Tomaro!


March 23-25, 2022

General Information

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.  Registration is now closed.

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!

Festival Schedule


(All events in Reynolds Recital Hall - unless otherwise noted.)

9:00am - Bothwell MS (performance & clinic)

9:40am - Escanaba JHS - 8th grade (performance & clinic)

10:20am - Escanaba JHS - 7th grade (performance & clinic)

11:00am-12:00pm - Lunch

12:10-12:50pm - NMU Jazz Band Performance

1:00-1:45pm - Clinics

  • Horn Players -  Recital Hall 
  • Rhythm Section Players - Recital Hall Basement (Green Room)

2:00pm - Republic-Michigamme School (performance & clinic)


THURSDAY, March 24

(All events in Reynolds Recital Hall.)

3:30pm - Kingsford HS (performance & clinic)

4:30pm - Iron Mountain HS (performance & clinic)

7:30pm - OPENING CONCERT (Reynolds Recital Hall)
"Meet the Jazztet" - Celebrating 60 Years
Featuring the NMU Jazz Festival Faculty Combo


FRIDAY, March 25

(All events in Reynolds Recital Hall - unless otherwise noted.)

9:00am - Kingsford HS Combo (performance & clinic)

10:00am - Thornapple Kellogg HS (performance & clinic)

11:00am - Escanaba High School (performance & clinic)

11:30am-1:00pm - Lunch & Jam Session in the Northern Center 

1:00-1:50pm - JAZZ FESTIVAL CLINIC (featuring Mike Tomaro) 

2:15pm - Marinette HS (performance & clinic)

3:15pm - Kingsley HS (performance & clinic)

4:15pm - Marquette HS (performance & clinic)

Featuring the NMU Jazz Band and Combo with Mike Tomaro
(Tickets available through the NMU Ticket Office.)

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.

Guest Artist Clinic

Mike Tomaro will be presenting an educational clinic at 1:00pm on Friday (March 25) in Reynolds Recital Hall.  This clinic is free and open to the public.

Jam Session!

The popular jam session for festival participants will be held from 11:30pm-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. 

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, March 25, 7:30 p.m. 
Reynolds Recital Hall
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
(, 906-227-1032)



Musician Chase Sanborn

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. 


Regina Carter with Friends of Jazz

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.