Minnesota Youth Jazz Band
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Mid Level Honor Jazz Band Program - 2017

Applications are now closed. Check back in January for information about 2018 program.

The 2017 Mid Level Honor Jazz Band Program has ended.

The following information is from last season.

Interested & qualified musicians in grades 9 and under are invited to participate. The instrumentation will be that of a traditional jazz big band - saxophones (alto, tenor, bari), trombones, trumpets, piano, bass, drums, and guitar. There will be three bands. Each band will rehearse Monday evenings from 7:00 - 8:30 for 10 weeks at one of these middle schools: Scott Highlands (Apple Valley), Falcon Ridge (Apple Valley), or Ramsey (South Minneapolis). Dave Mendenhall, John Greene, and Andy Nelson will be the directors. There will be a $200 fee for participation. Scholarship money is available in case of financial need. The bands will perform one concert and produce a concert DVD.

Apply! – If you’re interested in having a great time learning challenging jazz music in the company of other fine young musicians, we hope you’ll join us! Please apply by mailing in an application form. We'll hold short auditions to determine band placement in early March of 2017. You may also download a brochure for further information.

Fees - There will be a $200 fee for participation, used to cover part of the costs of organizing and maintaining the band.

Scholarships - No musician will be turned away because of financial need. If you would like information on scholarships, please contact us.

2017 Rehearsal Dates
March 6, 13, 20
April 3, 10, 17, 24
May 1, 8, 15

Concert Date - May 21, 2017. Location and time to be announced.

Qualifications for Students
The intent of our program is to include students who have demonstrated significant skills, interest and experience in jazz. In general, students who have the following skills would be a good fit:

  1. Understanding and playing basic scales including a Bb blues scale & chromatic scale (1 & ½ octave).
  2. Understanding the ‘swing’ style of rhythm.
  3. Understanding of basic & complex rhythm patterns.
  4. Students should be responsible & self-motivated.

Rhythm Section Qualifications:

  • Piano: 3 years of piano lessons. Currently taking lessons. Ability to read 4 parts. Basic understanding of chord symbols.
  • Bass: Previous jazz band experience. Currently taking lessons. Understanding of a blues bass line. Ability to read music notation in bass clef.
  • Drums: Previous jazz band experience. Currently taking lessons. Ability to read drum set notation. Understanding of swing, Latin & rock styles.
  • Guitar: 2-3 years of guitar lessons. Currently taking lessons. Ability to read music notation and chord symbols. Understanding of swing, Latin & rock styles.

    Drum Set, amplifiers, keyboards & bari sax are provided on site for rehearsals.
Dave MendenhallDave Mendenhall - Director
Dave Mendenhall has spent the last 36 years as a music educator in Apple Valley, MN and freelance musician in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. His school jazz ensembles and bands have played at numerous festivals and conventions, earning outstanding recognition by educators and clinicians alike. After retiring in 2010, he continues to be involved in musical pursuits. While continuing to perform music, he has worked for McNally Smith Music College in education outreach, has been the educational chair for the JazzMN Orchestra, served as clinician for various music festivals as well as working to publish educational band methods. Dave has enjoyed being the conductor for the 2012 MBDA All State 6-8 Concert Band, the 2013 All District 196 Mid Level Honor Band, the 2013 All State 7-9 Jazz Ensemble and the 2014 Mounds View All District Mid Level Honor Band.
John GreeneJohn Greene - Director
John retired in 2015 after 37 years of teaching grades 5-12. He was most recently at Falcon Ridge Middle School in Apple Valley, where he taught 8th grade bands, jazz ensemble, and percussion ensemble. John was named 2013-2014 "Music Educator of the Year" by the Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA). Under His direction, the Falcon Ridge Middle School Jazz Ensemble was awarded numerous honors at the UW-Eau Claire and UW-La Crosse Jazz Festivals, and appeared at the MMEA Mid-Winter Clinic. As an adjudicator, he has judged throughout the U.S. and Canada. John was an MMEA Board member as jazz chair and has conducted both the Minnesota All-State Jazz Ensemble and the MBDA Middle Level State Honors Jazz Ensemble.
ANDY nELSONAndy Nelson - Director
Andy has taught instrumental music in public schools for over 12 years, including Ramsey Middle School in Minneapolis, Ramsey Junior High in St. Paul, Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, and in the Brooklyn Center Public School system. Andy grew up in Apple Valley, Minnesota and comes from a family of musicians and educators. He received a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies from DePaul University in Chicago in 1997, and a Master of Arts in Education from the University of St. Thomas in 2010. In addition to teaching, Andy is a professional woodwind specialist and has performed with many bands in the Twin Cities, Chicago, and New York City.
For more information – please call us or email us

Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands,
950 Scenic Drive, Shoreview MN 55126
Ph: (651) 784-5136
Email: david.mitchell@comcast.net

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