Big Band to Contemporary
The Visual and Performing Arts Department of Michigan Tech University offers a diverse variety of courses in the study of Jazz, including a music minor with a concentration in jazz idiom.
The award-winning Michigan Tech Jazz Lab Band, under the direction of Mike Irish, is made up of 20 musicians from throughout the country, and features a broad repertoire of music ranging from the Big Band Era to today's contemporary sounds and original compositions.
The Jazz Lab Band is the top jazz ensemble at Michigan Tech, touring regionally every January. Their busy schedule includes numerous concerts and club dates throughout the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, guest artist concerts featuring performers such as Clark Terry, Louis Bellson, Maynard Ferguson, Byron Stripling, Frank Mantooth, Frank Wess, Wendell Harrison, Woddy Herman and the Young Thundering Herd, and the Stan Kenton Orchestra, an annual one-week Midwest Tour, and featured performances at various conventions such as the Midwestern Conference on School Music. The Jazz Lab Band has toured Jamaica six times and been chosen as the Outstanding Large Ensemble at the Aquinas Intercollegiate Big Band Festival, Grand Rapids, MI and the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire Collegiate Jazz Festival on numerous occasions. The students composing this ensemble come from all majors.