• 2020 Mt. Hood Jazz Festival Adjudicators


  • 2020 Mt. Hood Jazz Festival Adjudicators

    Chris Bruya

    Chris Bruya

    Chris Bruya has been involved in jazz education for more than 35 years, teaching high school, community college and university. In his current position as Director of Jazz Studies at Central Washington University, he has pioneered a hybrid improvisation sequence that develops a student’s ear and inner voice, has developed the small group program in both traditional and creative genres (appearance at 2013 JEN Conference, Atlanta, GA and live on KNKX radio archived on youtube), and his big band has been recognized as one of the finest in the country, performing at the Montreux, North Sea and the 2008 Next Generation (Monterey) jazz festivals, at the 2012 JEN Conference in Kentucky. In March 2015 the band placed first at the Next Generation Festival, which included a performance at the 2015 Monterey Jazz Festival. In April 2015 jazz organist Barney McClure released his Origin Records CD Show Me! featuring the CWU Jazz Band as the backing ensemble, garnering a 5-star review on allaboutjazz.com. Another CD by the band, the 2008 Seabreeze Records release In A Mellow Tone was cited by Jazz Times critic Scott Yanow as “consistently impressive and well worth hearing”. There are over 1300 live-recorded youtube videos of the band which have been cited by many as some of the most well-recorded and performed examples of the big band literature. Bruya has served on the Oregon and Washington state music educator boards, was an IAJE president of both Washington State and Oregon, and has organized state and Northwest jazz ensembles numerous times. In 2019 he directed the Texas ATSSB All-State jazz band at TMEA. Chris’ presentations at state and Northwest conferences have brought numerous accolades and he is in demand as a clinician and adjudicator throughout the Northwest and beyond. In 2016 WMEA honored him with the Collegiate Educator of the Year award, and he has recently become an Educational Clinician for the Conn-Selmer Corporation.


    Mike Klinger

    Mike Klinger

    Mike Klinger is an alumni of MHCC from 1969-1971. He then attended North Texas State University from 1972-1975 where he received his B.A. degree and M.M. degree in Music Composition. in 1975 he returned to MHCC as a faculty member where he taught music theory, composition, jazz improvisation, jazz ensemble. As a jazz pianist Mike has performed with Ernie Watts, Bill Watrous, Bill Ramsay, and many more. From 1990-1993 he co-led The Mt. Hood Kicks Band with Gary Hobbs and Lee Bradford. From 1984-2014 Mike taught music technology to music educators from all over the world at The Mike Klinger Music Technology Retreat Center in Carson, WA. In 2015 he semi-retired to Sequim, WA with his wife where he has his own 18 piece Big Band and his own jazz quartet.


    Paul Krueger

    Paul Krueger

    Paul Krueger is an Instructor of Jazz Studies at the University of Oregon where he teaches jazz trumpet and jazz composition lessons, Jazz History, Advanced Jazz Arranging, Jazz Pedagogy, and the program’s premier small group, JazzArts Oregon. He is also the director of the Oregon Jazz Festival, which takes place each January in Eugene, OR, and the University of Oregon Jazz Improvisation Summer Jazz Camp, which takes place each July.

    Krueger's compositions and arrangements have been programmed by university ensembles around the country, and have been performed by artists such as Kendrick Scott, Dave Pietro, Steve Wilson, and Dan Tepfer. In May 2012, Krueger's arrangement of Steve Wilson's "Wish You Were Here" received a Downbeat Magazine Student Music Award for Best Jazz Arrangement, and Krueger was named one of ASCAP's Young Jazz Composer Award winners for original compositions in 2012, 2013, and 2014. He is published by UNC Jazz Press and Walrus Music Publishing. Also a skilled trumpet player and improviser, Krueger is known for his broad sound, lyrical style, and his musical sensitivity on the bandstand. His first album, The Wayward Traveler, was released independently in December 2011, and features eight of his original compositions performed by his quartet.

    Before his appointment at the University of Oregon, Krueger served as the Director of Bands at Lane Community College in Eugene, OR. Under his direction, the Lane Jazz Ensemble was named the community college winner in the large jazz ensemble category of the 2015 Downbeat Magazine Student Music Awards. Previously, Krueger served as the Assistant Band Director at Washington High School in Sioux Falls, SD, where he taught concert bands, jazz ensembles, chamber ensembles, jazz combos, marching band and pep band. Krueger remains a highly sought-after clinician/presenter at universities, high schools, festivals, and music camps around the country.

    A native of Lincoln, NE, Krueger earned his Bachelors Degree in Music Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in May 2009, and his Masters Degree in Jazz Studies from the University of Oregon in June 2011.


    Michelle Medler

    Michelle Medler

    Michelle Medler is a multi-instrumentalist, music educator, composer & arranger from the Pacific Northwest, USA. She is the co-founder and director of the Portland Youth Jazz Orchestra as well as active and versatile musician. Michelle fronts a Jazz group under her name, her last album, Pink Sky, was released in late 2018 & is an outlet for her modern Jazz playing, composing & for touring. Michelle also holds down the woodwinds & vocals in the 1920s-40s Jazz ensemble, the Shanghai Woolies andplays tenor in the female saxophone band, The Quadraphonnes. She plays tenor/flute/keyboards and sings in the original funk/pop band Mystery Seed & is in salsa band, Melao de Cuba. She has been a mentor and composer for Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble's (PJCE) Grasshoppers Program as well as played in PJCE's band. Between gigs, she has a private lesson studio, works as a clinician and adjudicator for school bands and solo/ensemble contests, teaches "Jazz Techniques for Educators" at Portland State University and various music classes at the Burlingame Space. Her other interests include art & design, hiking and enjoying the NW wilderness.

    Michelle graduated from Portland State University with a Bachelors of Music, Jazz Emphasis. Simultaneous to college she was an artist in residence at Portland, Oregon’s Wilson High school band program. She has performed with The Rebirth Brass Band, The Temptations, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Charmaine & Charles Neville, Yoron Israel & Rick Peckham. Medler also performed on the soundtrack to the film “The Go Getter” (2008) and has recorded as a side-person on various jazz r'n'b albums and soundtracks for musicals.


    Don Norton

    Don Norton

    Don Norton is an Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Portland. As a saxophonist, he has performed extensively in a variety of styles that include jazz, classical, world music, and musical theater, and he has performed throughout the United States and abroad, including a tour of Costa Rica with world music group Panoramic. His research interests include jazz history and pedagogical methods for jazz and saxophone performance, and he has presented research at conferences of the Jazz Education Network and the North American Saxophone Alliance. He is also a Vandoren Artist-Clinician. Don holds degrees from the University of Northern Colorado, the New England Conservatory of Music, and Northern Illinois University.


    Sarah Owen

    Sarah Owen

    Sarah Owen is a jazz trumpet player and music educator residing in Bend, Oregon. Sarah directs the Big Band Jazz at Central Oregon Community College and is active in the Central Oregon music education community as an adjudicator and clinician. She is currently completing her Ed.D. in Educational Policy, Organization, and Leadership with an emphasis in Learning Design and Leadership from the University of Illinois, Urbana Champagne.

    Sarah grew up in the Seattle area and attended the University of Washington. She earned degrees in Jazz Studies and Music Education. While at the UW, Sarah studied jazz trumpet with Vern Sielert and classical trumpet with Alan Vizutti. She was active in the Seattle jazz scene during college and played regularly with the Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra and the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra. Sarah moved to Los Angeles to pursue both teaching and performing in 2008. As a trumpet player, she worked on several television shows including “American Idol,” “NBC’s The Voice,” “Glee,” “Noches con Platanito,” and performed with Gloria Estefan at the 2011 Alma Awards.


    Steve Owen

    Steve Owen

    Steve Owen (composer, conductor, saxophonist) is a Philip H. Knight Professor of Music and director of the University of Oregon's award-winning Jazz Studies Program. A respected educator, Owen has presented clinics at MENC conventions across the nation and has directed All-State jazz ensembles in Colorado, Connecticut, Arizona, Texas, Nevada, California, Nebraska, Kansas, New Mexico, and Minnesota as well as Oregon. Steve is also a founder and co-director of the Oregon Jazz Festival, an annual workshop for college, junior high, and high school jazz ensembles, the University of Oregon Summer Jazz Improvisation Camp, and is on the faculty of the University of Kansas’ jazz camp.

    As Director of Jazz Studies, Owen teaches courses in jazz composition/arranging, improvisation, repertoire study, and pedagogy. He also directs the Oregon Jazz Ensemble (the first of three large jazz ensembles at Oregon) and one of the school's ten jazz combos. Recognized for their excellence in interpretation and performance of the wide variety of styles associated with jazz, U.O. ensembles have performed at every major jazz festival and educational convention in the Pacific Northwest. Under Owen’s direction, the Oregon Jazz Ensemble has been selected the “Outstanding College Big Band” at the Reno Jazz Festival each year that the group has attended over the past 13 years. The group performed at the 2005 International Association of Jazz Educator’s Convention in Long Beach, California and was a 2008 Downbeat Award Winner in the College Big Band category. In 1991 Owen was one of two winners of the Ersted Award, the University of Oregon's top faculty award for distinguished teaching and in 2007 was likewise honored with the university’s Excellence in Teaching Award.

    A composer and arranger of national prominence, Owen's works have been performed by Bobby McFerrin, Dave Weckl, Anne Marie Moss, as well as the nation's finest college and professional jazz ensembles. His compositions have been featured at numerous jazz festivals nationally and internationally including performances from 1986 - 2000 at International Association of Jazz Educators conferences. Recent commissions have resulted in pieces performed and recorded in Germany by the HR Big Band and in Taiwan by the Taipei Jazz Orchestra as well as at jazz festivals in Colorado, Texas, Oregon, and Washington. Steve’s own CD, Stand Up Eight, was just released by Origin/OA2 Records in February 2013 featuring nine of his works for large jazz ensemble. As a saxophonist, Steve appears regularly as a soloist at high school and college festivals and is featured on two recent big band CDs – Dan Cavanagh’s “Pulse” and the Dan Gailey Jazz Orchestra “What Did You Dream” CD. Steve's music is published by UNC Jazz Press and Heritage JazzWorks.


    Jessika Smith

    Jessika Smith

    Jessika Smith is an award-winning jazz composer, saxophonist, and music educator. She teaches at Parkrose Middle School in Portland, and she directs the Eugene Composer's Big Band, the Jessika Smith Big Band, and plays frequently with other jazz groups throughout Oregon and Washington. Jessika has worked with numerous young jazz groups in the Northwest, and frequently adjudicates jazz festivals and competitions. Originally from Spokane, Washington, Jessika has played professionally with many groups, including the Bob Curnow Big Band, Spokane Jazz Orchestra, the Columbia Basin Jazz Orchestra, and has played with the Portland Jazz Composer’s Ensemble. Her first album, “Tricks of Light” features "Lights", which was the 2013 winner of the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra Composition Contest, and "Cyan Thread", which won the 2015 NBA Young Jazz Composer Contest.