Flathead Valley Community College is recruiting musicians of all levels for its Jazz Ensemble course this fall.
Instructed by Sky Thoreson, the one-credit course is open to anyone with a musical background who knows how to read music. The course will focus on combo, big band and contemporary jazz, dance music and jazz theory and history. Students will engage in performances on and off campus throughout the semester. Additionally, students will enjoy guest appearances from professional jazz musicians.
A member of the Jack Waller Quintet, Thoreson has played with various local groups, including Swingin’ on High, Don Lawrence Orchestra, Cocinando and renowned Whitefish musician and Downbeat Magazine rising star-nominated Erica von Kleist. He graduated from Whitworth University in Spokane where he studied jazz improvisation and pedagogy and earned a bachelor’s degree in classical trombone performance and a Master in Teaching degree. Before relocating to the Flathead Valley, Thoreson played with the Spokane Jazz Orchestra and studied under and played with internationally-acclaimed jazz artists such as Terence Blanchard, Robin Eubanks, Marcus Roberts, Ryan Keberle and Grammy Award-winning musician Kenny Garrett.
The course will meet Tuesdays from 5 to 6:45 p.m. throughout the fall semester on the college’s Kalispell campus beginning September 2. Students will need to supply their own instruments. Preferred instruments include saxophone, trombone, trumpet, drums, bass, piano and guitar.
In conjunction with the Jazz Ensemble course, the college will offer a Vocal Jazz course instructed by Missoula native Nicole Sanford. The one-credit course will meet Thursdays from 3 to 4:50 p.m. on the college campus beginning August 28. Students in the class will prepare and perform vocal jazz literature of the past and present. Prior singing experience and note reading are helpful but not required.
Sanford earned a Master of Arts degree in choral conducting and jazz studies from Washington State University and a bachelor’s degree in music education from The University of Montana. After completing college, she instructed a sixth through twelfth grade choir in Shelby. Additionally, Sanford has performed in various musicals and traveling groups, and she served as assistant director for the Continental Singers. She starred in the lead role, Pamina, in Mozart’s opera, “The Magic Flute,” as well as leading role, Madame Pompous, in Act I of Edwin Penhorwood’s opera, “Too Many Sopranos.” A recent former Whitefish High School choir teacher, she has traveled and performed across the globe in countries such as Austria, Hungary, Italy, Germany and Kenya.