Jazz & Creative Institute

Large PERFORMING Ensembles

Audition-based vocal & instrumental groups.

Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Orchestra director Benje Daneman leads his students on stage at the “Christmas in Kalamazoo” concert with the Kalamazoo Male Chorus and the Kalamazoo Ringers in December 2018.

Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Orchestra director Benje Daneman leads his students on stage at the “Christmas in Kalamazoo” concert with the Kalamazoo Male Chorus and the Kalamazoo Ringers in December 2018.

 
 
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.
— Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Orchestra Member

Large Ensembles

Our audition-based large ensembles present a unique opportunity for teens and adults to play professional jazz orchestra arrangements and perform in the community with their peers. Auditions for all ensembles are in October of each year. Placement is based on ability, experience, and where the directors feel the musician will benefit the most.

Beyond the music, ensemble members are taught to have a high level of professionalism and preparation, punctuality, and a positive, open attitude. It’s team sports for musicians. Commitment for the seven-month season is required and attendance is necessary at every rehearsal and event.


An opportunity to be part of something this good at this point in [my son’s] life will make a profound difference to him. I am so impressed by the quality of what the musicians were able to offer and the relentlessly positive attitude of the director. This is something that needs to continue. I cannot possibly say enough good things about it.
— Jazz Orchestra Parent

 

KALAMAZOO YOUTH JAZZ ORCHESTRA

The 2018-19 Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Orchestra performs live in downtown Kalamazoo, MI at Bates Alley directed by Benje Daneman on June 12, 2019.

Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Orchestra (KYJO) is Southwest Michigan’s premier youth jazz ensemble/big band and JCI’s advanced youth ensemble featuring between 18-20 advanced student musicians allowing them the opportunity to grow as jazz musicians and community musical leaders. During the season (November-May), students will rehearse weekly and perform professional level music directed by JCI Co-Director, Benje Daneman. KYJO will perform regularly throughout the region and is already slated for multiple performances across the region (traveling outside of Kalamazoo might be required for some performances) in many different settings including jazz clubs, concert halls and festivals.

Benje Daneman , Director of Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Orchestra

Benje Daneman, Director of Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Orchestra

 

KALAMAZOO YOUTH lab band

The 2018-19 Lab Band performs live in downtown Kalamazoo, MI at Bates Alley directed by Benje Daneman on June 12, 2019.

Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Lab Band (KYJLB) is a jazz ensemble/big band for student musicians who aspire to be part of the KYJO but need a bit more jazz experience and foundations. Led by JCI Faculty, Seth Ebersole, this band meets weekly and is the ideal situation for students to solidify their fundamental skills and grow as jazz musicians in a very supportive environment. Students will get multiple public performance opportunities, in addition to professional guidance on their specific instrument, while playing professional level music.

Seth Ebersole , Director of the Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Lab Band

Seth Ebersole, Director of the Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Lab Band


You guys did amazing for a first year program and the people you’ve chosen to be part of the team are exactly the kind of teachers and mentors people want working with their children. Not only has our son grown, he has a bunch of new mentors and teachers to guide him in his college choices in the upcoming year. But what this group did goes beyond the music, our son made lifelong friends.
— Jazz Orchestra Parent

 

Vocal Jazz Ensemble

Help us replace this stock photo with YOUR face!

Help us replace this stock photo with YOUR face!

Brand new this year, we’re creating Southwest Michigan’s premier youth vocal jazz ensemble! Vocal Jazz Ensemble will feature around 16 advanced student vocalists allowing them the opportunity to grow as jazz musicians and community musical leaders. During the season (November-May), students will rehearse weekly and perform professional level music directed by JCI Voice Faculty and WMU Gold Company alumna, Liz Townsend. VJE will perform regularly throughout the region and is already slated for multiple performances across the region (traveling outside of Kalamazoo might be required for some performances) in many different settings including jazz clubs, concert halls and festivals.

Liz Townsend, Director of Kalamazoo Youth Vocal Jazz Ensemble

 

Kalamazoo Adult Jazz Band

Trumpeter Chris Rysenga performs with his JCI trio at the Union Cabaret & Grille in downtown Kalamazoo.

Trumpeter Chris Rysenga performs with his JCI trio at the Union Cabaret & Grille in downtown Kalamazoo.

Brand new this year, the Kalamazoo Adult Jazz Band (KAJB) is Kalamazoo’s first adult community jazz big band and allows regional adult musicians (18 years and older) an opportunity to grow in their understanding of the basics of jazz big band music, ensemble playing and to become a part of the great community at Jazz & Creative Institute. During the season (November-May), the band will rehearse weekly and perform professional level music directed by a JCI Faculty, Rufus Ferguson. Musicians will get multiple performance opportunities in addition to professional guidance on their specific instrument.

Rufus Ferguson , Director of the Kalamazoo Adult Jazz Band

Rufus Ferguson, Director of the Kalamazoo Adult Jazz Band

Tuition

Tuition is billed at $110/month from November through May. Some limited scholarship is available for students with extenuating circumstances. We highly recommended that large ensemble members take private lessons during their tenure so they may be their best and advance that much farther. We discount ensemble tuition at 20-30% for those students who take advantage of our private lesson program. Tuition for the 7-month season is $770. Instrument rental or maintenance are additional expenses for players.

Large Ensemble Tuition plus weekly 60min lessons: $302/mo

Large Ensemble Tuition plus weekly 45min lessons: $260/mo

Large Ensemble Tuition plus weekly 30min lessons: $213/mo

Large Ensemble Tuition (7 month commitment required): $110/mo

Audition process

1 - Review each ensemble’s program details, audition requirements and commitment required. Get any and all questions you have answered via our website, emailing benje@jazzandcreative.com or calling us at 269-350-4311.

2 - Complete and submit the audition application by October 21, 2019.

3 - Audition for the directors October 18 - 26th and wait to see which ensembles you’ve been selected for.

4 - Accept your spot in an ensemble and pay your first invoice by November 1st.

5 - Mark your calendar with all your ensemble’s important dates and get excited to have a great year!