Our mission is to build a greater appreciation of jazz in Northern Nevada by providing outstanding big band performances, promoting the artistry of Reno Jazz Orchestra musicians through a variety of ensembles, and supporting jazz education through a mentorship program in middle schools, high schools, and colleges. All combined, we contribute to the vibrancy, diversity, cultural vitality, and quality of our community’s artistic life.
With your support, our mission will remain strong to sustain our education programs noted below. For more information, and to donate to the programs below, please contact Chuck Reider, Executive / Music Director by email or by phone.
Email Chuck at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 775-372-6160.
Each semester the RJO works with a dozen schools in the Northern Nevada area and provides jazz mentors to work with their jazz ensembles at no cost. Each school is assigned 2 mentors that visit a total of 6-8 times. In return, the ensembles are asked to perform at our Jazz in the Schools event and the Reno Jazz Festival. The director submits a pre-recording and a post-recording to show the ensemble’s growth.
Having the mentors attend rehearsals allows the ensemble to get additional feedback, work on improvisation and practice techniques and receive instrument-specific guidance. Mentors also work with directors to assist in picking charts and running sectionals. We have seen incredible growth in our area’s jazz ensembles that continue to participate in our mentor program.
The RJO provides a Saturday workshop for students in Northern Nevada who would like to work on improvisation, jazz theory, ear training, and small group performance. Currently taught by Dylan Coleman, 2 sessions are offered for 8 weeks per semester and 2 levels are offered. Each session is limited to 10 students. The final project is a small group performance that features the students opening a concert for the Reno Jazz Orchestra.
This is an excellent opportunity for young musicians who would like to work on skills that they don’t work on in their school ensembles regularly. Students also benefit from the small group instruction and performance aspects.
For the last 20 years, the RJO has hosted an annual Jazz in the Schools event. This one-day event is an opportunity for jazz ensembles from Northern Nevada to perform for feedback from nationally recognized clinicians. This event is provided at no charge to schools, participants, or attendees.
The mission is to bring students together to perform for one another and work with RJO musicians in a clinic. Over the years, Dr. Andy Heglund (UNR Music Professor/RJO drummer) has been instrumental in growing the event. This past year 17 big bands, 2 choirs, and 5 combos performed at UNR for two outstanding clinicians. This local performance opportunity also helps the ensembles to prepare for the Reno Jazz Festival (RJF) in which they are rated.
Those schools that have participated have seen a consistent improvement in their scores at the RJF over the years.