Skip to main content
Close Search

SDSU Brookings Optimist Jazz Festival

Jazz band workshop
Jazz band workshop


Application directions: Fill out the FESTIVAL APPLICATION and submit payment separately via mail.  

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 2, 2020, at the expanded Performing Arts Center.

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

Read the Letter from the Director.

Guest Artists

Ellen Rowe
Ellen Rowe

Ellen Rowe, Jazz Piano, University of Michigan

Ellen Rowe, jazz pianist and composer, is currently Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation at the University of Michigan. She is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Rayburn Wright and Bill Dobbins. Prior to her appointment in Michigan, she served as Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Connecticut.

Having been selected to conduct the NAfME All-Eastern and All-Northwest Jazz Ensembles as well as All-State jazz ensembles throughout the country, she has also been an invited clinician at the National Association for Music Education Eastern Division Convention, International Society for Jazz Composition and Arranging Symposium and Jazz Education Network conferences. She is on the Board of the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers and also serves as the Coordinator for the JEN Sisters In Jazz Collegiate Combo Competition. Her quintet has performed at the San Jose Jazz Festival, Jazz Education Network Conference, Michigan Jazz Festival, Detroit International Jazz Festival and in jazz clubs around the country.

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).