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2021 NMU Jazz Festival poster

NMU Jazz Festival

A Virtual Jazz Event!

Thursday & Friday, April 8-9, 2021


General Information

Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, the NMU Jazz Festival is going online this year! 

High school and middle school jazz bands and combos in the region are invited to participate in virtual clinics with NMU faculty and guest clinicians during late March and early April.  These sessions will be scheduled with band directors on an individual basis, and the content of these sessions will be specifically tailored to the needs of each participating ensemble.

The 2021 NMU Jazz Festival will conclude on Thursday & Friday, April 8-9, with a virtual clinic and two evening performances featuring the NMU Band and the NMU Jazz Combo. 

There is a $50 entry fee for each participating ensemble.

The registration deadline is Friday, February 26, 2021. 

See Festival details below!

Festival Schedule

Late March - Early April

High school and middle school jazz bands and combos in the region will participate in virtual clinics with NMU faculty and guest clinicians.  These sessions will be scheduled with band directors on an individual basis, and the content of these sessions will be specifically tailored to the needs of each participating ensemble.

Thursday, April 23
7:30 p.m. 
Opening Concert - Virtual

Broadcast from Reynolds Recital Hall
Featuring the NMU Jazz Festival Faculty Combo

Friday, April 24
1:00 - 1:50 p.m. 
Virtual Jazz Festival Clinic - Online

More information to come!

7:30 p.m.
Final Concert - Virtual

Broadcast from Reynolds Recital Hall
Featuring the NMU Jazz Band and Combo

Jams, Clinics and Workshops

High School and Middle School Clinics

Registered high school and middle school jazz bands and combos in the region will participate in virtual clinics with NMU faculty and guest clinicians during late March and early April.  These sessions will be scheduled with band directors on an individual basis, and the content of these sessions will be specifically tailored to the needs of each participating ensemble.

Jazz Festival Clinic - online

Friday, April 9, 1:00 p.m.   
This educational clinic is free and open to the public. 
Please check back for more detailed information.

Jam Session!

The popular jam session for festival participants will not be held this year, but it will return in 2022!

Two Evening Concerts!

Two Live, Virtual Evening Concerts!

Thursday, April 8, 7:30 p.m.
Live broadcast from Reynolds Recital Hall
"Some Like It Cool!"
Featuring the NMU Jazz Octet 

Friday, April 9, 7:30 p.m. 
Live broadcast from Reynolds Recital Hall
Featuring the NMU Jazz Band & The NMU Jazz Combo

Click the button below at concert time!

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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. 

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Regina Carter with Friends of Jazz

Past Featured Artists

NMU Friends of Jazz are shown with guest performing artist Regina Carter at the 2105 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.