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SDSU Brookings Optimist Jazz Festival

Jazz band workshop
Jazz band workshop

Instrumental and vocal jazz ensembles of all levels are cordially invited to participate in the Fifteenth Annual SDSU/Brookings Optimist Jazz Festival! The Festival will be held on Thursday, April 8, 2021, at the expanded Performing Arts Center.

  • Vocal Jazz Groups must bring their own mics.
  • Bell Covers are required for all horn players.
  • Masks are required in the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center.
  • Rhythm section gear (Piano, drum kit, vibes, amps) will still be provided and will be sanitized between groups. 
  • Directors are asked to report any positive COVID tests to the Performing Arts Center up to 72 hours after the festival. 

There will be no audience allowed, but all performances will be livestreamed and the noon concert with SDSU Jazz I and our guest artists will be livestreamed through the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center Facebook Page. 

A Note on Registration Fees 

We have a record of those of you who paid for last year's festival, which was canceled due to the pandemic.  Those fees will be applied to this year's festival.  If you submitted fees for last year, but are unable to attend this year, your fees will be refunded.

Those who did not submit entry fees for last year will need to submit the $200 entry fee. If you are unsure if you sent a check last year, please contact Dr. Yiqun Chen.

A complete festival registration must include the completed registration form, a roster of students in ensembles and registration fees.

Please contact the SDSU Music Program at 605-688-5187 for additional information.

Guest Artists

Tom Walsh
Tom Walsh

Tom Walsh, Jazz Saxophone, Indiana University

Tom Walsh is a professor of saxophone and chair of the Jazz Studies Department at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

Walsh has performed and presented at conferences of the International Association for Jazz Education, Jazz Education Network, North American Saxophone Alliance, and World Saxophone Congress. A Yamaha Performing Artist and Vandoren Artist, he has taught at the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops since 1991.

Christine Guter
Christine Guter

Christine Guter, Vocal Jazz, CSU-Long Beach

Christine is currently the Director of Vocal Jazz at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University Long Beach. She teaches private jazz and classical voice lessons, a solo jazz vocal techniques course, class jazz piano, jazz theory and directs the university’s award-winning vocal jazz ensemble, Pacific Standard Time.

Christine has worked extensively in studio settings and has sung on over 40 Hollywood soundtracks including Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Despicable Me 2, Oz the Great and Powerful, The Lorax, Ice Age 4, Superman Returns and Spiderman 3.   

Christine is active nationally as a guest conductor, lecturer, adjudicator and clinician. Christine is on the board for the California Alliance for Jazz (CAJ) and is a member of the Jazz Education Network (JEN), California Music Educators Association (CMEA), Music Educator’s National Conference (MENC) and American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).  

Dean Sorenson
Dean Sorenson

Dean Sorenson, Jazz Trombone, University of Minnesota

Dean Sorenson is Associate Professor and Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Minnesota as well as a prolific and highly sought-after composer, arranger, trombonist, educator, and clinician. Dean’s latest recording project is COLORS OF THE SOUL, a CD of original music for sextet. His most recent books include EXCELLENCE IN JAZZ PEDAGOGY as well as FIRST PLACE FOR JAZZ, a new and innovative method for beginning jazz players., a new and innovative method for beginning jazz players published by the Neil A. Kjos Music Company. He is frequently featured at festivals and conventions around the country and abroad, and maintains a full schedule of concert and recording dates as a Yamaha performing artist.

Mr. Sorenson has composed and arranged for numerous ensembles including the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Airmen of Note, and the Minnesota Orchestra. He is active as a commissioned composer and arranger for jazz ensemble, symphony orchestra, concert band, and chamber ensembles, and has also written several sacred choral pieces. For more information please visit