The Reno Youth Jazz Orchestra
Our Founders and Directors

a photograph of Directors Vernon and Karen Scarbrough
Co-Founders and Directors, Vernon and Karen Scarbrough.

Vernon Scarbrough

Co-Founder and Director of Reno Youth Jazz Orchestra I

Colonel (retired) Vernon Scarbrough has spent most of his life in the Reno-Sparks area, attending local schools. It was in the Washoe County School District that he learned his craft as a musician, with an emphasis on the saxophone.

Vern graduated with a Bachelor of Music, with a minor in Music Education from one the country's most prestigious jazz colleges, the University of North Texas.

Rehearsals begin November 1, 2023 and end the third week of July, 2024. Exceptions to this include all WCSD breaks and holidays.

He received his Master's Degree in Fine Arts, Music Education from Southern Oregon University.

Vern earned a Master's Degree in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Mr. Scarbrough taught band in the Washoe County School District for twenty-two years and is now retired.

Karen Scarbrough

Co-Founder and Director of Programs and Development, Reno Youth Jazz Orchestra I

Karen Scarbrough was born and raised in the Reno area and attended local schools, including the University of Nevada. She ultimately received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with an emphasis on Advertising and a minor in Business Administration from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas.

Karen worked for three years at the Reno Gazette Journal in the Retail Advertising Department before pursuing a Master's Degree.

Along with her husband Vernon, Karen is a Co Founder of the Reno Youth Jazz Orchestra. Looking at the needs of Northern Nevada, Karen and Vernon discovered there to be a Reno Youth Philharmonic and a Nevada Youth Opera Chorus, but no youth jazz programs. So, in 2006, they sought grants and donations and began the RYJO to serve our community's youth jazz needs.

Earning a Master of Arts in Counseling and Education Psychology from the University of Nevada, Karen went on to a her current co-career as a Marriage and Family Therapist.