WMU Jazz Studies alumni continue to be prominent in all fields of the music industry and are found on the world stage, on screen, in the recording studios, placing in national and international competitions, and teaching in collegiate and secondary school classrooms.

Recent Developments

  • Hannah Truckenbrod is the vocalist on tour with The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra.
  • Nayanna Holley sings background vocals on 'American Idol', 'The Voice' and tours constantly with national acts, and, such as Selena Gomez, Robbie Williams, Allen Stone, Sheryl Crow and many others. She is featured on Sergio Mendes’ new CD.
  • Johnaye Kendrick is the Professor of Vocal Jazz at Cornish College in Seattle.
  • Jay Sawyer tours world-wide with Freddy Cole and Itamar Borochov.
  • Max Brown is the guitarist, electric and acoustic bassist for The War and Treaty performing at festivals and TV shows.
  • Nicholas Olynciw won 1st place in the Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition.
  • Loren Battley works as a vocalist with Michael Bublé and many others.
  • Michael Horrigan is the bassist for the United States Air Force Jazz Band Shades of Blue.
  • Christian Diaz works as a vocalist at Walt Disney World in Dapper Dans and Voices of Liberty.
  • Christina Bagley is the vocalist for the United States Air Force Bands.
  • Johnny Rodgers tours with Liza Minelli and performs at the fabled Oak Room in New York City.
  • Yakiv Tsvietinskyi was selected to participate in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program.
  • Shawn Bell was selected to participate in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program.
  • The Davis Brothers, Xavier and Quincy, who record and tour constantly, world wide with many of the great names in jazz.
  • Jennifer Barnes is the Professor of Vocal Jazz at University of North Texas.
  • Drew Schnurr is the bassist/composer and appointed professor at University of North Texas.
  • Matt Landon won 2nd Prize at the Wilson Jazz Guitar Competition 2017 and 2018, and 3rd Prize at the Montreux International Jazz Guitar Competition.
  • Benje Daneman was a finalist in the National Trumpet Association-Jazz Division and performed with the Doc Severinson Jazz Orchestra.
  • Kate Reid is the Professor of Vocal Jazz at Miami University and just released a new album of duos.
  • Christian Euman attended the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance and currently tours with Kurt Elling, Billy Childs and Jacob Collier.
  • Evan Hyde was selected to participate in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program and tours with Kelly Green.
  • Aubrey Johnson teaches at Queens College in NYC and Montclair State University in New Jersey, and will be releasing her debut album.
  • Logan Thomas won 1st place at the Nottingham International Jazz Piano Competition, and 2nd place at the Montreux International Jazz Piano Competition. He tours with Postmodern Jukebox and just released his album 'Brain Tonic'.
  • Joe Ayoub is the bassist for Shakira and many others.
  • Eric Bowman was a finalist for the International Trombone Association Competition-Jazz Division.
  • Christine Helfrich Guter, whose students at California State University Long Beach won 3 Down Beat awards this year.
  • Quincy Davis has been named the Professor of Drum Set at University of North Texas.
  • Matt Giraud was a finalist in the American Idol competition.
  • Justin Avery has performed and recorded with Meatloaf and now tours with Windborne Music.
  • Dominic Carioti working as a performer and teacher in Brooklyn, NY.
  • Nick Mueller released is new album called "Culture in Flames."  

What people are saying about WMU Jazz Studies

"Western Michigan has a great jazz program.  I’ve been there various times over the years and have always found that the students are very talented, dedicated, and they interact well with each other. The faculty is terrific. Keith Hall’s drum choir, originated by Billy Hart years ago, is an inspiration. The faculty works hard and is generous with their knowledge. It’s a great learning environment.  There is a great sense of community and I love the vibe at Western Michigan."

-Tenor Saxophonist Donny McCaslin