Dana Landry is always pursuing the next artistic challenge. He is as at home playing Bebop with a jazz quartet as he is performing Prokofiev with an orchestra, as comfortable playing duo in a small dive as he is accompanying a diva in a concert hall. He has been performing regularly with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra for the past twelve years as part of Classical and Pops series.
Dana is featured on recordings released by record labels including Summit, Origin, and Artist Alliance, several of which made it to the top of the Jazz Week U.S. Radio Airplay Chart. His first CD as a leader, Journey Home, featured virtuoso vibist Gary Burton. Landry has performed throughout the U.S. and in Europe, Australia, and China.
Landry has held the position of Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Northern Colorado since 2002, where he directs the award-winning UNC Jazz Lab Band I. Their most recent release is the Romeo and Juliet Project, a Jazz Orchestra suite based on Shakespeare’s most famous work. In April of 2021, they premiered An Electronic Wonderland, which combines big band and electronica and is inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Composer and saxophonist, Wil Swindler currently resides near Denver, CO where he leads Wil Swindler’s Elevenet, the modern bop quintet GoodRattle, and the Wil Swindler Quartet. In addition to his own bands, he is an active performer with the Peter Sommer Septet, Al Hood’s H2 Big Band, the Colorado Symphony, the Ben Markley Big Band, the Colorado Jazz Orchestra, The Annie Booth Big Band and many more.
In addition to receiving IAJE’s Gil Evans Fellowship in 2008, Wil has completed numerous commissions from jazz ensembles, military bands, and symphony orchestras around the world. Wil has four CDs available under his own name, Space Bugs (OA2 Records 2022), Universe B (OA2 Records 2010), the Right Riot (2014) with Goodrattle, and Chamber Jazz Ensemble (NohJoh Music 2006), and can be heard on numerous other albums including Ingrid Michaelson’s Songs for the Season, Ben Markley’s Clockwise and Ari’s Funhouse (with Ari Hoenig), Steve Owen’s Stand Up Eight, Peter Sommer’s Soulful Songs and Spirits and Happy-Go-Lucky-Locals, Al Hood/Dave Hansen’s You’re It, Bob Washut’s Journey to Knowhere, and David Caffey’s Enter Autumn and All in One. Wil is a Senior Instructor of Music and the Director of Jazz Bands at Colorado State University.
Originally from Central Texas, Wil began studying music at age five, and picked up the saxophone at age nine. He earned a B.M. in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas in 2001 where he played in, composed for, and recorded with the 1:00 Lab Band. While at North Texas, he studied with Jim Riggs, Paris Rutherford, Neil Slater, and others. In 2000 he attended the Henry Mancini Institute on a full scholarship from BMI, and received a commission the following year from HMI for a piece premiered at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. In 2001, Wil relocated to New York City, where he played with Toshiko Akiyoshi and Bill Warfield’s NY Fusion Ensemble, among others. During his time in N.Y., Wil studied saxophone with Dave Pietro and composition with Michael Abene and Jim McNeely as a member of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop. Mr. Swindler has lived in Colorado since 2006 with his wife April Johannesen and daughter Annika.
Donna Wickham earned a degree in vocal performance and a Masters in conducting from the University of Denver. While she was studying classical music in school, she was allowed to perform with the jazz ensembles, took a lot of private jazz lessons, and was regularly singing jazz. Right after she graduated, the vocal jazz instructor at Lamont took a sabbatical. Donna was hired to fill in for that year, and then stayed on to head the vocal jazz program at the University of Denver. “My students are brilliant and I am in love with them. It excites me to help them. I teach my students all of the things that jazz instrumentalists learn, and that there is no limit to singing.”
Wickham, who recorded previously as a classical choral musician and a background singer, created her debut jazz recording, Myth and Memory, partly as a result of her collaborations with the great pianist Art Lande.
She formed the Firesign Vocal Quartet with three of her best friends from the choral world. The group explores new approaches to classical choral music and has performed new music concerts at colleges. She also sings with St. Martin’s Chamber Choir in Denver and performs with the DU faculty jazz combo.
Donna Wickham says “For the future I plan to keep on searching for musical soul mates and creating meaningful and original music.”
Dr. Joseph L. Jefferson is an award-winning educator that is currently the Associate Professor of Trombone/Euphonium and Director of Jazz Studies at Southeast Missouri State University. At the 13th Annual Jazz Education Network Conference, Dr. Jefferson was awarded the 2022 Ellis Marsalis, Jr. Jazz Educator of the Year. As a soloist, chamber musician, sideman, educator, and adjudicator, Joseph maintains an active schedule in Classical, Jazz, and Commercial musical settings. Dr. Jefferson has been an invited guest artist and presenter at the International Trombone Festival, Jazz Education Network Conference, Darkwater Festival, Washington State Music Educators Association Conference, Louisiana Music Educators Association Conference, Jazz Institute of Chicago, NAfME – Eastern Division Conference, International Horn Symposium, Reno Jazz Festival – University of Nevada, Reno, University of Evansville Brass & Percussion Day, Mt. Hood Jazz Festival, Weber State University, and Mineral Area College.
As a performer, Dr. Jefferson has shared the stage with a variety of groups and artists such as Vanessa Williams, Jennifer Wharton, Sean Jones, Andre Hayward, John Fedchock, The Colour of Music Orchestra, Paducah Symphony, The Irish Tenors, The Cab Calloway Orchestra, Zoltan Kiss (Mnozil Brass), Randy Brecker, Jae Sinnett, Mike Berkowitz, Christopher Bill, and international R&B artists Dwele and Raheem Devaughn among others. Internationally, Dr. Jefferson has also had performing and teaching residencies in Bermuda and Asia at the College of Music, Mahidol University in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand.
Dr. Jefferson has earned degrees from Norfolk State (B.M), Shenandoah Conservatory (M.M.), and West Virginia University (D.M.A.) under the tutelage of esteemed faculty; including, Dr. Keith Jackson, Dr. Wayne Wells, Dr. Mike Hall, and Mr. Paul Adams. He has also received instruction from Joseph Alessi, Andre Hayward, Amanda Stewart, Vincent Gardner, and Dr. Natalie Mannix.
Dr. Joseph L. Jefferson maintains his connection with the larger community of musicians and educators through his membership in Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Jazz Education Network, International Trombone Association, NAfME (Southwestern Division Representative), Texas Music Educators Association, and the College Music Society. In 2021, Joseph was appointed the Jazz Content Editor for the Historical Brass Society. Additionally, Dr. Jefferson has served as a clinician/consultant for Jazz at Lincoln Center. Joseph is an S.E. Shires and Giddings Mouthpieces Performing Artist.
Preston Pierce is a Band Director at Plano West Senior High School in Plano Texas. His duties include directing the Wind Symphony, Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Band, Jazz Small Groups, assisting with the Marching Band, and coordinating the jazz program for the Plano West Cluster. He is a past President of the Texas Jazz Educators Association (TJEA) and currently serves on the board.
The Plano West Jazz Orchestra is a four-time finalist in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington Competition and Festival in New York City in 2022, 2021, 2020, and 2017. Since 2020, the Plano West Jazz program has won a combined 14 DownBeat Student Music Awards in the annual competitions. In 2022 & 2018 the Jazz Orchestra was selected to perform at the Jazz Education Network Conference (JEN). The Plano West Jazz Orchestra was also selected as the 2016 TMEA Invited High School Jazz Ensemble. While teaching in Plano, his students have earned spots in NYO Jazz, The Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, Vail Jazz Workshop, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Summer Jazz Academy (SJA), named National YoungArts winners in jazz, Music for All-Jazz Band of America, selected to tour in the NEA/Herbie Hancock Institute All-Star Peer-to-Peer Jazz Sextet, and have consistently earned spots in the TMEA All-State Jazz Ensembles. In 2017 the Plano West Jazz program was selected by the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz (formerly known as the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz) to take part in a new initiative that supports the jazz program by providing educational materials, clinicians, guest artists, and performance opportunities.