Jazz @ Clark

jazz festival logo The Clark College Jazz Ensemble is the premier jazz group at Clark College and holds an international reputation of excellence. Participation in the ensemble is by audition and jazz improvisation skills are not mandatory, but highly encouraged. Throughout the year, students are guided through an active learning curriculum on correct performance techniques of different jazz styles and concert repertoire. Additionally, students are exposed to a wide variety of jazz-related subjects from jazz improvisation and history to understanding Latin/Afro-Cuban jazz rhythm. Above all, teamwork and leadership are a focused learning outcome. The Jazz Ensemble has performed internationally and received critical acclaim at many prestigious jazz festivals throughout the United States and Mexico where our students received numerous recognitions for outstanding musicianship. We are also proud that many of our students desiring to go on to four-year music programs have successfully transitioned to Jazz Studies programs such as University of Northern Colorado, University of Idaho, Washington State University, Central Washington University, and the University of North Texas.

A popular jazz curriculum offering is the humanities course, MUSC 135 Jazz Appreciation. Jazz Appreciation is an online course intended to provide students with relevant and compelling facts about jazz that illustrate its colorful history and the mixture of ethnic diversity that makes it one of America's only indigenous art forms. The class utilizes online materials, multimedia presentations, and music examples to guide students through an interactive process of learning how to listen to jazz, a chronology of significant jazz periods, the societal events that impacted each period, and the biographies and significance of key musicians.

If you, or anyone you know, have any interest in "jazz@clark" or questions regarding the jazz festival, feel free to contact Dr. Doug Harris at daharris@clark.edu.

Jazz Festival Director Dr. Doug HarrisJazz Festival Director Dr. Doug Harris:

Dr. Doug Harris joined the faculty Clark College after serving as Director of Bands at Western Kentucky University, Santa Clara University and Southern Utah University. He also enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a high school band director in Florida. 

Dr. Harris received his Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Florida, his Master of Arts and Doctor of Arts from the University of Northern Colorado.  His conducting teachers include Richard W. Bowles, Dr. Raymond Chobaz, Dr. German Gutierez, Dr. Richard Mayne and Dr. Kenneth Singleton, and has studied with Douglas Akey, Stanley Derusha, John Paynter and Frank Batiste.  At his most recent high school, Palm Bay High School in Melbourne, FL., his concert and jazz bands were recognized as being among the elite in the state, regularly receiving highest marks at district and state festivals.  The Wind Ensemble was invited to perform at the University of Florida Invitational Concert Band Festival as well as the prestigious Bands of America National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis.  The top jazz band performed at, and won. jazz festivals in Florida, Georgia and Virginia, and has earned praise while performing with jazz notables such as Ira Sullivan, Bill Prince, Marc Dickman, Christian Tamburr, Maynard Ferguson,  David Steinmeyer and Bobby Shew.

Doug is active as a marching band arranger and clinician, working with and writing for bands from Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, Colorado, Utah and California and has adjudicated concert, jazz and marching bands in Florida, Georgia, Colorado, Utah and California.  He is currently on the brass staff with the World-Class Sacramento Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps of Drum Corps International. He is active as an arranger and transcriber and is published in the Grand Mesa Music catalog.

Dr. Harris is a member of the International Trumpet Guild, Kentucky Music Educators Association, California Band Directors Association, National Association for Music Education, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and Kappa Kappa Psi (honorary).