Omaha Performing Arts’ Jazz Academy supports and fosters quality jazz education in Omaha area middle schools. This free program connects students and teachers to a professional teaching artist who tailors lessons to the needs and interests of each school.
Questions? Contact Bill Grennan, Omaha Performing Arts' Education Manager at BGrennan@O-pa.org or 402-661-8447.
Jazz Academy Teacher Professional Development
Thursday, April 15, 2021 | 4:00 PM
Led by Marty Morrison with Teaching Artist, Shawn Bell
THE INTERSECTION OF JAZZ IN AMERICAN CULTURE
This session will focus on the elements, both culturally and musically, that have come together to define American music. We will start in the late 1800’s and move to the present, discussing events and trends parallel to the innovations occurring with the unfolding of American music. Just as European classical music is categorized (Baroque, Romantic, etc.), we will dissect American jazz into distinct periods (Swing Era, Bebop, etc.) and discuss how the musical innovations/innovators are reflective and relevant to the respective times.
It is my hope that a commitment to this topic can offer some nutrition for humanity during these difficult social times. We are witnessing Americans continue to misinterpret one another. This has been happening for generations. To quote the great Wayne Shorter, “This music thing ain’t even about music, it’s about humanity.”
David Hawkins is an up and coming drummer, originally from Omaha, Nebraska. He began seriously pursuing music through the study of jazz, which in turn, has led him to tour, record and perform with a variety of different artists across many genres of music.
Jennifer Novak Haar is a versatile pianist throughout
the United States. She performs in many jazz combos ranging from duo to big band including her own group, Novak & Haar, and she was invited to perform as a jazz pianist at the Kulturnacht festival in Braunschweig, Germany. She studied jazz improvisation
with Gary Burton and is working towards a professional certificate through Berklee’s online program, and she also studies Charlie Banacos courses with pianist Garry Dial.
Jennifer frequently performs with the Omaha Symphony, the Omaha Chamber Music Society, and for other professional organizations in the area. She is a music director and keyboardist for local theater and has played for numerous Broadway touring productions. She toured nationally with Mannheim Steamroller and the Irish group Fír. Jennifer graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and was a Fulbright scholar at the Hochschule für Musik in Würzburg, Germany. She is married to bassist Mark Haar.
Christopher Leach is a trombonist, pianist, and educator based in Lincoln, NE. He has travelled the country and world playing at venues and festivals large and small, and performing educational jazz clinics at both the high school and college level.
Chris has shared the stage with notable jazz musicians such as Ernie Watts, Scott Whitfield, Bobby Shew, Bijon Watson, Kris Berg, Mary Fettig, Matt Niess, Reggie Thomas, Michael Dease, and Robert Irvine III. He has also performed with artists such as
Johnny Mathis, Wayne Newton, and other national acts.
Chris received his education from Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville (B.S.), Northern Illinois University (M.M.) and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln (D.M.A.). Chris is currently Instructor of Jazz Piano at University of Nebraska - Omaha where he directs the Jazz II Big Band, teaches Jazz Combo and Masterclass, and teaches private applied lessons.
Join Jacob Sorensen as students will learn about the basic concepts of Jazz and the Electric Bass.
Tetsuya Nishiyama is a guitarist, originally from Nagoya, Japan. He has worked with some of finest jazz musicians in the U.S including Marquis Hill, Reginald Thomas, Geoffrey Bradfield, Greg Ward, Ari Brown, Robert Irving III, Tony Monaco, Bobby Floyed, Victor Garcia, and many others. He has also worked with many names on the blues R&B scene including Buddy Guy, Roy Ayers, The Emotions, Toronzo Cannon, Mike Wheeler, etc
With degrees in Jazz Studies from Western Michigan University and Northern Illinois University, teaching artist Shawn Bell will bring his deep knowledge to students – equipping them with new skills and inspiring our region’s next generation of jazz musicians.
Greg Simon is a composer and jazz trumpeter from California, by way of Oregon and Colorado. His works have been performed by ensembles and performers around the country, including the Nu Deco Ensemble, the Cavell Trio, Alarm Will Sound, the Fifth House Ensemble, and the Playground Ensemble of Denver. He has won the NACUSA Young Composers’ Competition, the Brehm Prize in Choral Composition from the University of Michigan, and the POLYPHONOS competition from the Esoterics. Greg studied jazz improvisation and composition with Bill Lucas, Ellen Rowe, and Brad Goode, and is an active freelancer in the Omaha-Lincoln area.
Greg is Assistant Professor of Composition and Jazz Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and he teaches at the Brevard Music Center. He received a D.M.A. in composition from the University of Michigan.
Dr. Andrew Janak is an active saxophonist/composer/arranger/educator currently based out of Lincoln, NE after previously spending
several years in Chicago, IL.
Andrew has shared the stage with jazz greats Victor Lewis, Donny McCaslin, Randy Brecker, Jeff Hamilton, Phil Woods and Jimmy Heath. He has also worked/written for with various jazz/commercial groups around the Midwest such as the Nebraska Jazz Orchestra, Bob Lark’s Alumni Band Band, Tom Matta Big Band and Andrew Janak and Wind Armada, a progressive jazz group specializing in original music.
Andrew graduated with a bachelors degree in music education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a masters of music in jazz composition from DePaul University, and a DMA in jazz studies/composition from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His debut album Borrowed Time was released in June 2017. Currently he is the Band Director/Instructor of Saxophone at Nebraska Weselyan University and Jazz Band Director/Instructor of Saxophone at Doane University.
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