Member of Jack Waller Quintet Sky Thoreson
Jan 13, 2012

Member of Jack Waller Quintet to Instruct New Jazz Ensemble Course at FVCC

Sky Thoreson is passionate about jazz music.  Even though he is relatively new to the Flathead, he has already found avenues that allow him to live out his passion, and he is eager to create new ways for the community to enjoy all that jazz music offers.  He plays the trombone with a popular local jazz group, the Jack Waller Quintet, who has a large community following at local venues such as the Cottage Inn in Kila.  Starting this spring, Thoreson will be teaching “Jazz Ensemble I,” a new course at Flathead Valley Community College which will offer community members an opportunity to be a part of a jazz ensemble.

During most of the course, the ensemble will practice together, though Thoreson also will emphasize teaching jazz theory and improvisation.  Thoreson says he will focus on teaching students how to play jazz music with style and soul and plans for the group to give a semester end community concert as well.

“Our goal is to make a really tight, clean jazz group that can sound professional and play at a high level in an area where jazz is not as popular of a genre,” he said.

Thoreson says he hopes the new ensemble will enhance the Flathead Valley’s appreciation for jazz and has a long-term goal of creating a traditional 18-piece big band jazz ensemble.

“There’s a lot going on in the Flathead Valley musically, but it’s all behind the scenes,” he said.  “You wouldn’t know it unless you were directly involved in it.  I want this program to take off.  If it becomes a big deal at the college level, I think it could be contagious throughout the area.”

Having a classically trained singer as a father, Thoreson grew up in a musical family in the Seattle area.  He attended college at Whitworth University where he studied jazz extensively and earned his bachelor’s degree in classical trombone performance.  As a student, Thoreson was lead trombone player in the award-winning Whitworth Jazz Ensemble, and he had the opportunity to study under and play with renowned jazz artists such as leading jazz musician and composer Terence Blanchard and Grammy Award-winning musician Kenny Garrett.

Courses will meet Tuesday evenings at 5 p.m. at Snappy Sport Senter in Kalispell beginning January 17.  The course is open to anyone with a musical background who knows how to read music.  Students will need to bring their own instruments.  Preferred instruments include saxophone, trombone, trumpet, drums, bass, piano and guitar.

For more information or to register, call 756-3848, visit or contact Sky Thoreson at (406) 548-2636 or