Elkhart Jazz Festival introduces first music camp for kids

The Elkhart Jazz Festival is planning a weeklong band camp for kids taught by a group of esteemed jazz musicians.

Posted on Oct. 5, 2013 at 1:00 a.m.

GOSHEN — An all-star lineup of musicians will lend their skills next summer to the Elkhart Jazz Festival’s first band camp for kids.

Seven performers, including a few jazz festival veterans, will teach at Camp Hoagy, a seven-day program beginning June 15, 2014, at Goshen College, leading up to Elkhart County’s largest music festival.

“I have been wanting to get this together for a long time,” said Van Young, camp organizer and jazz festival volunteer.

Camp Hoagy, named after pianist and composer Hoagy Carmichael, will give as many as 60 kids ages 12 to 18 an opportunity to fine-tune their skills alongside musicians who have worked with some of the biggest names in jazz. The teaching staff will include Bill Allred, Bill Dendle, Eddie Metz Jr., Terry Myers, Jeff Phillips, Darrell Tidaback and Greg Varlotta.

Students will learn the art of improvisation and how to create their own solos, plus explore instrumental techniques and the various styles of jazz. The kids will be treated to tours of local band instrument companies and will even get an opportunity to take the stage June 20 at the Elkhart Jazz Festival.

The cost of the weeklong camp, including instruction, housing, food, materials and in-town transportation, is $850 for students who stay on campus at Goshen College and $650 for day students. Young said the camp is looking for sponsorships and scholarships for the students.

Visit camphoagy.com for more details.


Ÿ Bill Allred will work with trombonists and tuba players at the camp. He is the leader of Bill Allred’s Classic Jazz Band and has played at the Elkhart Jazz Festival multiple times. Allred comes from a family of musicians and has entertained jazz fans all over the world. He has shared the stage with a long list of jazz legends including Dizzie Gillespie, Al Hirt and Butch Miles.

Ÿ Bill Dendle will serve as the camp curriculum director and will primarily instruct guitar and banjo players. Dendle began playing music in 1963, and four years later he began a career in San Diego as the bandleader for the South Market Street Jazz Band, which performed at Disneyland and on USO tours. In addition to being a talented performer, he is the director of three jazz camp programs in California.

Ÿ Elkhart Jazz Festival favorite Eddie Metz Jr. has played drums on more than 50 jazz recordings and has appeared at more than 60 music festivals around the globe. A graduate of the esteemed jazz studies program at William Paterson University, Metz has played with the Count Basie Orchestra, Chick Corea, Milt Hinton and many other talented entertainers. He recently finished 14 years as a staff musician at Walt Disney World and continues to teach at several jazz camps.

Ÿ Saxophonist Terry Myers was a 2013 Elkhart Jazz Festival honoree. He has performed across the United States and at jazz festivals in Holland, Ireland, England, Switzerland, Denmark and China. He has his own big band and led the Tommy Dorsey Band this year for two American tours.

Ÿ Pianist and organist Jeff Phillips has played with several ensembles, including Bill Allred’s Classic Jazz Band. At the jazz camp, he will also mentor young tuba players. Phillips has experience teaching high school students in jazz, symphonic and marching bands. He spent five years playing tuba and keyboard for seven Disney groups, including the Rhythm Rascals with Bill Allred and the Hollywood Hit Men with Bob Pickwood.

Ÿ Darrell Tidaback works with college jazz bands at Indiana University South Bend and Notre Dame. With an academic career that spans nearly 20 years and more than 30 years as a jazz and classical musician, Tidaback is a former bassist with the Jim Cullum Jazz Band. He has spent the past 18 years as an arranger and performer with Musical Offerings, a contemporary chamber ensemble. His signature style can be heard on more than 20 recordings.

Ÿ Greg Varlotta is an accomplished musician who plays trumpet, cornet and trombone. He has taught at multiple jazz camps and played with several symphony orchestras, brass quintets and jazz bands. Varlotta recently completed 21 years as a staff musician with The Side Street Strutters at Disneyland in California.


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