The Moraine Valley Jazz Ensemble is an 18-member jazz big band comprised of adult community members, college students, and advanced high school students. This select group of musicians meets Tuesdays from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Fine and Performing Arts Center, Room F127. Interested persons should be proficient music readers who play saxophone, trumpet, trombone, guitar, piano, bass, or drum set. Strong music improvisers are encouraged to join. Prior experience performing in a high school or collegiate jazz ensemble also is very helpful. Auditions for membership and part placement are normally held following the first two rehearsals of the semester. The director of the Jazz Ensemble is Douglass Bratt.
Typical music repertoire includes songs made popular by such composers as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Thad Jones, and Woody Herman. The band also plays more contemporary works for big band by such writers as Bill Holman, Maria Schneider, Bob Minzter, Alan Baylock, Tom Garling, Kris Berg and others.
Each fall, the Jazz Ensemble represents Moraine Valley Community College in the Skyway Jazz Festival, an annual meeting of eight Chicago area member college bands. Each group performs for a panel of judges who are distinguished members of the Chicago jazz community. The group also performs several on-campus concerts each semester and has opened for such professional groups as the Count Basie Orchestra, The Rob Parton Orchestra and the Brass Tracks Jazz Orchestra.
Guest artists who have performed with the ensemble include: Orbert Davis (trumpet), Joey Sellers (trombone), Mark Colby (saxophone), Tom Garling (trombone), Joel Spencer (drum set), Art Davis (trumpet), Amber Dawn (vocalist), Meredith McGuire (vocalist), Larry Gray (bass), Tim Burns (guitar), Doug Stone (saxophone), Mark O'Connor (saxophone), Kevin Fort (piano and trombone), Carl Coan (saxophone & EWI), John Wojciechowski (saxophone), Tito Carrillo (trumpet), Saalik Zyiad (vocalist), Mona Jethmalani (vocalist), Brad Stirtz (vibraphone), Tim Coffmann (trombone), Mark Sonksen (bass), Mai Sugimoto (saxophone), Gerald Bailey (trumpet), James Davis (trumpet), Rich Moore (saxophone), John Moulder (guitar), Victor Garcia (trumpet), Matt Lewis (trumpet/vocalist), Bob Rummage (drum set), Doug Scharf (trumpet), Jim Pugh (trombone), David Hoffman (trumpet) and Tom Hipskind (drum set).
For the spring 2015 semester, the jazz ensemble has openings in all sections, however we have a particular need trumpet players who are strong section players and music readers. Any instrumentalists with experience improvising over written chord changes are strongly encouraged to join. All new members must audition for placement in the ensemble. Audition requirements can be found on this website by clicking Audition Information Page.
Degree-seeking and transfer students may enroll in the jazz ensemble for one academic credit hour. Jazz Ensemble I-IV course codes are MUS-151, 152, 251, 252. First-time ensemble students should enroll in MUS-151 and then enroll in the next numbered course for each subsequent semester. Instructor's consent is required. Course is repeatable up to four times for academic credit.
Non-degree-seeking community members should register for MU4-308-200 (instructor's written consent required). Registration fee is $25 per academic semester.
College Owned Instruments Available
All jazz ensemble members are required to own their own instruments; however, the college does have available several larger and less commonly owned instruments for use by students participating in the ensemble. In all cases students are required to purchase and provide their own reeds and/or mouthpieces.
1 - Soprano Saxophone (Yamaha)
1 - Tenor Saxophone (Conn)
1 - Baritone Saxophone (King)
1 - Yamaha 6, grand piano
1 - Kay acoustic bass with pickups
1 - Fender Jazz electric bass
1 - 5-piece Ludwig drum set with Zildjian cymbals
Various bass & guitar amplifiers
Various Latin percussion instruments