Music Department

Northwest Jazz Festival

nwc jazz festival logo small.fw


The 34th Annual Northwest Jazz Festival
Monday and Tuesday, February 27-28, 2017
With the Wyoming All-State Jazz Band






The seven singers of Groove for Thought have been blowing audiences away for over ten years. Performing classic tunes in a jazz style unlike anything you’ve ever heard, the group combines the swinging style of The Manhattan Transfer with the smooth sounds of Take 6.

Together since 2000, Groove for Thought began as a group of friends that got together weekly in their living rooms to sing a style of music that went above and beyond what was possible in their college jazz choirs. “Their arrangements are stunning representations of the possibilities of vocal harmonies,” according to a review from the Contemporary A Cappella Society. Written primarily by founding member Kelly Kunz, these creative explorations of jazz and classic pop tunes are the backbone of Groove’s unique sound.

Many of the members of Groove are experienced music teachers, and all members have ties to the rich jazz education tradition of the Pacific Northwest. The award-winning ensembles at Central Washington University, Pierce College, Edmonds Community College, and Mount Hood Community College proved to be an excellent training ground for what would become “hands down the best [vocal] jazz group in the United States,” according to Deke Sharon, a pioneer of the contemporary a cappella style. In addition to electrifying performances, the members of Groove for Thought are active as clinicians and adjudicators and are available to present workshops on a wide variety of musical subjects. (Read More...)




Since establishing himself among the Denver area's elite jazz musicians, Peter Sommer has contributed his energetic tenor playing and creative spirit to a wide variety of musical projects ranging from mainstream bebop to avant garde and beyond at venues across the nation and around the world. Although rooted in the great jazz tradition of his heroes Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane, he continues to search for the mystery in music making and takes great joy in sharing the present moment with the listener.

Peter Sommer is associate professor of Jazz Studies and Saxophone at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins. At CSU, he directs Jazz Ensemble I, and coordinates the Jazz Studies area. (Read More...)

Festival Philosophy

The Northwest College Jazz Festival is a noncompetitive performance opportunity for vocal and instrumental jazz groups at all levels of proficiency. High quality assessment and instruction will be provided by respected jazz educators in a positive and constructive learning environment. This festival encourages young musicians and teachers to grow through camaraderie and musical exchange.


Collegiate Division:

We are now inviting college ensembles and students to join us at the Northwest Jazz Festival. This division is open to soloists, combos and ensembles of all sizes from community colleges or universities.

Soloist/Combo Division:

We are now welcoming soloists and combos (small groups focusing on improvisation) to join us in this special division. Open to soloists on any instrument (including voice), or to small ensembles of any instrumentation. Students will have the opportunity to perform in a separate performance venue and work with a clinician and professional rhythm section. Soloists are welcome to bring their own combos for accompaniment or perform with our in house professional trio!


Registration is now open.


Festival Cost:
     $200 - Jazz Bands and Choirs
     $100 - Jazz Combos
     $50 - Soloists


As part of your registration, please fill these out the appropriate set of festival forms. You can upload the completed forms during the registration process, or you may return them via email to, or by fax (307) 754-6340.

Jazz Band Forms

Jazz Choir Forms


Refunds are only available for entry fees when circumstances prevent the judges from appearing at the festival.


Each group may schedule a 20-minute performance time which will include recorded and written adjudication and an off-stage 20-minute clinic for your band or choir. Teachers may elect to receive a rating or "comments only."

Music displays, as well as clinics and workshops, will be available throughout the two-day festival.

Awards are given to outstanding soloists over the course of the festival. Judges also select a band and choir who exemplify our festival philosophy by their performance and spirit for the duration of the festival.


Monday, February 27, 7:00 PM
Powell High School Auditorium

This concert features headliners Groove for Thought and tenor saxophonist Peter Sommer. Also performing will be the Wyoming All-State Jazz Band and the Festival All-Star Band.

Concert Tickets

Tickets for the Monday evening concert may be purchased by calling 307-254-6425 or by stopping by the Music Office in the Nelson Performing Arts Center (NPA 16). The concert will be in Powell High School Auditorium. Seating is limited, so purchase your tickets early.

     Ticket Price: $28.00
     School Discount: $25.00*

*Schools that register for Jazz Festival and reserve their concert tickets by February 1, 2016, will receive a $3.00/ticket school discount. Remember, you only have to reserve your tickets to receive the discount. 

Festival All-Star Band

Band directors are invited to participate in the Festival All-Star workshop. During this noon-time rehearsal on Monday, all students will be treated to a concert in the Nelson Performing Arts Auditorium. All band directors are encouraged to be part of this fun, musical exchange. The Festival All-Star Jazz Band will be featured in a short performance at the Monday evening concert. LOTS OF FUN FOR THE STUDENTS!


Festival Directors

Craig Olson

Brennan Baglio

Department Secretary

Diana Gwynn

Recording & Sound

Robert Rumbolz


Jeff Troxel

Mailing Address

Music Department
Northwest College
231 W 6th Street Bldg 2
Powell, WY 82435
FAX: 307-754-6340
Phone: 307-754-6425

WyomingArtsCouncillogo New

*The Northwest Jazz Festival is supported in part by a grant from the Wyoming Arts Council, through funding from the Wyoming State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Craig Olson
Visiting Instructor of Music; Director of Bands


Brennan Baglio
Instructor of Music; Director of Choirs


Blair Hotels - Jazz Festival Ad 2017