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ABOUT VJC Online Guest Artist Clinics


Once a month, between February and May 2021, the VJC will bring in leading artist-teachers from around the country for hour-long, Zoom-based clinics on various topics of interest for developing creative musicians. These sessions are offered without charge. And although they have been created for our VJC students and program alums, all JHS, HS, and college students with interest are welcome to attend any of these events.

VJC Director Russell Schmidt will be on hand to moderate and assist each special guest with these Online Guest Artist Clinics. Anyone interested in attending should contact Russ to get a Zoom link for each session.

This page will be updated occasionally to reflect the developing roster of clinicians joining us remotely. The current roster of clinicians is as follows:

Saturday, February 20th @ 1:00 p.m. — Jack Schantz on The Three Centers of Playing: Physical, Intellectual, and Emotional

Saturday, March 20th @ 1:00 p.m. — Alexa Tarentino on What's Next? An Early Career Toolkit

Saturday, April 17th — TBA

Saturday, May 15th @ 1:00 p.m. — Tito Carrillo (topic TBA)

     Times shown are Arizona time. (Out-of-state attendees: Be advised that Arizona does not participate in Daylight Savings Time.) 

Please note: This page provides information about VJC Online Guest Artist Clinics offered through Zoom. If you are interested in learning more about other VJC Online activities (including virtual ensembles and special topics classes), please click here.

About the clinicians:

IN FEBRUARY: Trumpeter/educator Jack Schantz was the Artistic Director of the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra for 15 years. He recently retired from his position as Coordinator of Jazz Studies at the University of Akron, a role he held for 20 years (and an institution at which he taught for 30 years). Over the course of a long, distinguished career as a revered artist-teacher, Jack has performed with Tony Bennett, Clare Fischer, Woody Herman, Diane Schuur, Mel Torme, Sarah Vaughan, and Nancy Wilson, as well as the Blossom Festival Orchestra and the Cleveland Pop Orchestra. Additionally, he has recorded with Paul Ferguson, Sean Jones, Joe Lovano, Dave Morgan, Oscar Peterson, Dan Wall, and with his own group.


Jack has a music performance philosophy that many younger musicians can benefit greatly from. He gives careful consideration to three centers of playing: Physical, Intellectual, and Emotional. His goal is to have those three centers in balance, though it is difficult to actually progress in more than one area at a time. While this might make one's growth less traditionally linear, it always makes for a more meaningful creative development in the long-term.


If you are asking yourself questions like "How do I successfully express the creativity that's in my head through my instrument?" or "What exactly do I do with all this theory I've learned?", Jack's masterfully holistic approach to making music can help you solve this particular piece of the creative puzzle. Please join us for this session on February 20th.

IN MARCH: Alexa Tarantino is an award-winning, vibrant, young jazz saxophonist, woodwind doubler, composer, and educator. Her “lovely, ardent way of improvising,” and “sharply plotted but gracefully unencumbered straight-ahead jazz [compositions]” (The New York Times) establish her individual voice which shines through as a dynamic performer and educator. Alexa was named one of the “Top 5 Alto Saxophonists of 2019” by the JazzTimes Critics’ Poll and nominated as a “Rising Star – Alto Saxophone” by Downbeat Magazine’s 2020 Critics’ Poll.


Alexa has performed regularly as a leader and sidewoman in a wide variety of ensembles and genres including the Cecile McLorin Salvant Quintet, OGRESSE, Ulysses Owens Jr.’s Generation Y, LSAT (a quintet co-led with baritone saxophonist Lauren Sevian), Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Sherrie Maricle & the DIVA Jazz Orchestra, and her own Alexa Tarantino Quartet. Firefly, her third album for Posi-Tone Records, will be released on April 30, 2021.


Alexa is currently on faculty for Jazz at Lincoln Center's Youth Programs (High School Jazz Academy, Let Freedom Swing/Jazz for Young People) and represents the organization as a Clinician and Educator for various schools, festivals, and workshops, including a recent appearance in Arizona as the Guest Director of AZ All-State jazz Ensemble I.


In her clinic with VJC students, Alexa will be presenting "What's Next? An Early Career Toolkit." This session is designed to inspire, empower, and encourage the next generation of creatives to find their niche in the ever-changing arts world. Through an open and spirited discussion, participants will leave with a greater understanding of sculpting a mission statement, defining priorities and routines, and exploring and growing their network, all with the goal of building the creative life they want to live.

IN APRIL: Still TBA... More details coming soon.

IN MAY: Tito Carrillo... Again, more details coming soon.

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The Valley Jazz Cooperative is an outreach of
MSWMinistries, a 501(c)(3) organization