Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Orchestra for Teens


The Jazz & Creative Institute presents the Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Orchestra - Southwest Michigan's Premier Youth Jazz Ensemble. Experience high-level musical and jazz training and public performances. Open to all high school musicians by audition only. KYJO is supported by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo and partners with Western Michigan University to allow regional student musicians an opportunity to grow as jazz musicians and community musical leaders. KYJO invites students in grades 9-12, or advanced younger students with teacher recommendation, to audition for this year-long program. During the year, students will rehearse and perform professional level music directed by Benje Daneman and a staff/faculty of professional jazz teaching artists. The KYJO will receive guest clinics throughout the season by WMU jazz professors Keith Hall, Tom Knific, Andrew Rathbun and Scott Cowan. The ensemble will perform in many different settings throughout the region over the season. 

Thank you for an amazing year, I never knew that there was more to a jazz band than what my high school offers. It is a jazz/rock group that plays more rock and maybe one jazz chart. I really enjoyed the performances and the songs because they are really challenging and made me feel like a professional player because they are made for professional players.
— Jazz Orchestra Member

About Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Lab Band

Students who aspire to be part of the KYJO but need more preparation may participate in our Lab Band. This is the ideal situation for students to solidify their fundamental skills and grow as jazz musicians in a very supportive environment. They'll get lots of playing opportunity in a small group setting as well as guidance on their specific instrument.

The Lab Band will meet approximately every other Wednesday evening from 6:30 - 8pm. The lab band is also directed by Benje Daneman. The November through May season concludes with a performance in the KYJO concert at Western on May 30th and possibly one or two other performance opportunities.

Additionally, Lab Band students are strongly encouraged to join our Jazz Academy. Learn more by clicking the button below.