Michael Christianson is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Michigan Technological University. Originally from Fargo, ND, Mr. Christianson moved to the NYC area to become a low brass performer after finishing his degree in Moorhead. Once there, Mr. Christianson slowly built a varied, interesting and successful career as a musician. He has recorded and toured with: Ray Charles, Maria Schneider, Fred Hersch, John Hollenbeck’s Large Ensemble, and The Toasters. He has performed with: Mario Bauza, Philharmonia Baroque, American Symphony, BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, and The Westchester Jazz Orchestra. Special new music performances include: Music for Philip Glass’ The Bacchae in Central Park, Henry Brant’s Orbits for 80 trombones at the Guggenheim, and Anthony Braxton’s Composition #19 for 100 tubas at the World Financial Center. Mr. Christianson became an integral part of the Broadway community, holding a chair or subbing on 30 different shows.
Brian Coyle is Director of Jazz Studies at Hope College in Holland Michigan. He is a performer, composer, arranger, adjudicator and clinician who frequently appears at festivals, universities, colleges, high schools and clubs both Nationally and Internationally. Professionally, Brian has performed and/or recorded with Al Jarreau, Roberta Flack, Melissa Manchester, the New Buddy Rich Band, the Ladd McIntosh Big Band, the John Cooper Jazz Orchestra, the George Stone Big Band, Jermaine Jackson, Bobby Shew, Marvin Stamm, Gary Foster, the O'Jays, Pia Zadora, Eric Reed, Ravi Coltrane, Jeffrey Osborne, Susan Anton, Mac Davis and Lorrie Morgan among others. He has also performed with the National Touring Companies of Dream Girls, How to Succeed in Business, The Will Rodgers Follies, Guys and Dolls, Teddy and Alice and the Radio City Music Hall Rocketts. As a composer, Brian’s works have been commissioned and performed by Universities and High Schools throughout the United States. He is a published author, has served on the Executive Board for the International Association for Jazz Education and is a Past-President of the Michigan Association for Jazz Education.
Harry South is a graduate of Northern Michigan University, and he currently maintains a very successful private studio in Marquette, where he teaches lessons to bass, violin, and cello students. An avid performer, Harry plays with many different musical groups in Marquette: Eclettico, Marquette Symphony Orchestra, Milestones Jazz Trio, and the blues and soul group, Travis Swanson and the Midnight Movers.
Mark Flaherty studied at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, graduating in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music. Further study led him to the Yale University School of Music, from which he earned a Master of Music Degree in Trumpet Performance in 1996. In the spring of 2002, he completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Minnesota. Currently, Dr. Flaherty is an Associate Professor of Music at Northern Michigan University, where he teaches trumpet and horn, coordinates the use of technology in the Music Department, teaches various lecture courses, and directs the NMU Jazz Band. Dr. Flaherty has published articles in the International Trumpet Guild Journal, and he has recently presented at the International Association of Jazz Record Collectors Conference, the Doc Evans Centennial Symposium at Carleton College, the Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conference, and at several regional workshops for music educators. He is also principal trumpet of the Marquette Symphony Orchestra, and he is an active freelance player in the Upper Peninsula.
Steve Grugin is the Director of Bands at NMU, where his duties include directing the Pride of the North Marching Band, the NMU Pep Band, and the NMU Symphonic Band. He received his Bachelor of Music Education and Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies from Ohio State University, completed a Master of Music in Conducting from Northwestern University, and holds a Ph. D. from Florida State University. Dr. Grugin is an active performer in the Upper Peninsula, and he has presented clinics throughout the Midwest.
Mike Irish is the Director of Jazz Studies at Michigan Technological University, and has a broad background in Jazz Studies as an educator and performer. He holds a B.M.E. from Northern Michigan University and an M.M.E. from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point with a thesis in Jazz Studies. Prior to his appointment at Michigan Tech in 1991, Mr. Irish taught in the Wisconsin Public Schools and for 8 years was the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point.
Jeff Vickers joined the music faculty at Northern Michigan University in 2014, and is world-renowned for his interpretation of contemporary music. He has commissioned and premiered music in a variety of settings, including collaborations with international composers Robert Lemay, Christian Lauba, Hiroyuki Itoh, Ida Gotkovsky, Claudio Gabriele, Camille Kerger and Carlos Michans. Dr. Vickers is an artist and clinician for Selmer Paris Saxophones. He completed the Doctor of Music degree in Music Literature and Performance from Indiana University, with minors in music education and jazz studies. He also obtained his Master of Music (performance) from Indiana University with a minor in jazz studies. Dr. Vickers completed his Bachelor of Music in education at the University of Mississippi.
Dave Ziegner is an outstanding guitar and bass player who spent many years in the San Francisco area before deciding to make his home right here in the Upper Peninsula. He is a founding member of the Finnish Reggae band Conga Se Menne, bandleader for the Latin jazz group Combo Caliente, and a major force in the local jazz scene as both a performer and educator.