THE RJO BLOG

RJO History


I Hope in Time a Change Will Come

Racism has been a plague on humanity reaching back to the Pharaohs over 5,000 years ago and continues to haunt us to this day.  I was disheartened when the Black Lives Matter marches began as a result of black deaths at the hands of police.  Why? 

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Reno Jazz in the World

The Reno Jazz Orchestra’s mission (RJO) is focused on jazz performance and education. My article this month introduces you to three Reno musicians who graduated from UNR, performed with the RJO, and are now out in the world creating new music for this generation. 

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The Art of Jazz in the time of Social Distancing

We are all coping with Covid-19 as best we can so I thought today I would share how three local musicians are keeping jazz and more importantly our spirits alive and well. Let’s start with Dallas Smith.

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Jazz Orchestras, A Great American Heritage

I have been fortunate to lead the Reno Jazz Orchestra since 2006, and over the years we have grown due to the support of our community. Thank you all! This month we will revisit the origins of the jazz orchestra, after which I will share three new RJO projects that honor the past and look to the future...

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A Family Of Music

It is my pleasure to introduce you to two members of the Reno Jazz Orchestra (RJO) family, Andy and Nichole Heglund. Andy has been the RJO’s drummer for over ten years and a past president.  Nichole joined us this spring to head our jazz education programs. 

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Reno Jazz Festival, 57 Years of Great Jazz

The fifty-seventh three-day Reno Jazz Festival (RJF) concluded April 27th and it thrills me to tell you twenty-six local school big bands, combos, and choirs participated and received accolades including outstanding Nevada High School ensemble and Middle School Choir...

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Where in the World Will Jazz Take You?

This month’s column introduces you to two Reno jazz artists, trumpeter Dickie Mills and saxophonist Chris Casaceli. Mills recently turned 90 and has been a Reno jazz stalwart since the 1950s and Casaceli is joining the professional music community after recently graduating from the University of Oregon. 

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Jazz Returns to Midtown

It is thrilling that the performing arts are returning to the musicians’ hall and the RJO is looking forward to a long productive working relationship with Good Luck MacBeth (GLM) and one more shout out to Brian Egan for making this happen! I have to say Reno is still the biggest little city in America and my story today is just one of many proving the point.

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Roots in the Blues

Great singers bring the blues to life and we are blessed with great vocal talent in the Reno-Tahoe area. It is a thrill that five of my favorite local singers are joining us for this upcoming concert. Some have performed with us several times and some are joining us for the first time so let me introduce them to you.

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Thank You Reno For 20 Great Years...

Over the last year I have been highlighting Reno’s jazz community from jazz professionals to student big band jazz to the Reno Jazz Festival. Today’s article is about the Reno Jazz Orchestra (RJO) because this year we are twenty years old. Those in the orchestra who have been a part since its inception in 1997 have been privileged to provide our community great big band performances. We are honored that our community has been there to support us. Thank you Reno, let’s do twenty more! But first let me give you a little of our past...

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RJO Old Friends Hans Halt and Bill Hecht

It is time to feature two old friends in my jazz world.  I have had the pleasure of working with Hans Halt and Bill Hecht for over thirty years (I can’t believe I just wrote that!) in a number of different jazz settings. 

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