MSU Billings Jazz Festival

January 26, 2018

Festival Details & Adjudication Registration

MSU Billings will supply guitar amps, bass amps, drum sets, pianos, music stands and chairs in all performance venues.  Vibes may also be available.  Please contact John Roberts if there are other needs at

    • Ensembles will each receive 40 minutes to play and receive immediate feedback from clinicians.  Directors may use this time as they desire for more performance or more adjudication.

    • The Jazz Festival will begin at 8:30 AM and conclude at 5:30 PM.  The evening concert will begin at 7:00 PM in Petro Theatre.

    • Improvisation and Instrumental Clinics TBA.

    • Band Adjudication Registration fees ($150/ensemble) can be paid online via credit card. To register and pay by check, contact or call 406.896.5890. 

    • General Admission Concert Tickets available for $10. Reserve yours today!

    • FREE admission to Concert with valid MSUB ID.

Festival Adjudicators & Clinicians


"" SEE ALSO: MSUB Jazz Adjudication Form

Craig Olson

CraigCraig Olson is originally from Southern California where he acquired a diverse musical background. He toured for 4 years as a saxophonist with United States Navy Band out of San Diego. After the service he received his Bachelors from Cal Poly and a Masters from Azusa Pacific College. For the next seventeen years he was in public education and had an outstanding program at Pioneer Middle School where his groups were featured at the International Association of Jazz Educators Conventions. He served as President of Jazz Education for the Southern California Band and Orchestra Association.


Craig also served as the Southern California representative for IAJE. He has been on the staff for many jazz camps over the years including the Fullerton College Jazz Camp, Fullerton State College All-American Jazz Camp, the Idylwild School of Music and the Arts and the Yellowstone Jazz Camp. A resident of Cody, Wyoming, Craig currently teaches Wind Band, Saxophone, and Instrumental Jazz Groups at Northwest College. He is also director of music at First United Methodist Church in Cody. In addition to these activities he owns and operates his own music business, adjudicates festivals in the area, and teaches in his private studio. He continues to play professionally in the area.


Craig also has adjudicated music festivals in Montana and Wyoming in addition to conducting honor bands including the 2005 Montana Eastern Allstate Jazz Band.


Jeff Troxel

Jeff Troxel playing guitarJeff is a guitarist and educator based out of northern Wyoming. He holds music degrees from Northwest College, Berklee College of Music, and the University of Southern California. Jeff has taught at USC, University of Laverne, Rocky Mountain College, and Central Wyoming College, and is currently teaching full-time at Northwest College in Powell, WY. An author for Mel Bay and FGM Publishing, Jeff also serves on the faculty for several music camps.


As a composer, Jeff’s music is featured on several public television shows, and he is a two-time recipient of the Wyoming Arts Council’s Performing Arts Fellowship in music composition. He has won songwriting awards from the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and the IBMA. As a guitarist, he has won state flatpicking championships in Wyoming, Utah, as well as the 2003 National Championship.  


Jeff has shared the stage with Pete Huttlinger, Mike Dowling, Chuck Pyle, Tish Hinojosa, Bobby Shew, Matt Flinner, Larry Koonse, Frank Mantooth, Ronnie Bedford, Jack Reilly, Warren Chiasson, and many others. He is a roster artist for the Wyoming Arts Council and is available for concerts, clinics and workshops.




Matt Devitt

Matt DevittPercussionist Matt Devitt has been an active musician and instructor in the Northwest area for more than 20 years. He is a founding member of END ever, Outpost Tuney Hall of Fame winner for the Hard Rock category. He also is a member of John
Roberts Y Pan Blanco and has performed, as a freelance musician, with the Billings Symphony Orchestra for over 13 years. He has played with several big bands and is well known in the musical community of Montana.


Devitt was a featured clinician at the Montana Day of percussion in 2007 and 2015. He has been teaching drums at Hansen Music for 18 years and has been an applied percussion instructor at Montana State University Billings since 2005 and Northwest College since 2014. Devitt has a BA in Music Performance from MSU Billings.

Parker Brown

Parker BrownSpecializing in double bass, electric bass and guitar, Parker Brown is a private instructor, songwriter, and a freelance and studio musician.  He grew up surrounded by music, spending many hours around his father’s bands and extensive record collection. From an early age he went to gigs, rehearsals, and even on a few tours with his dad.   Now, a private instructor and freelance musician for eight years, Parker runs a studio of thirty students with skill levels ranging from beginner to advanced. He teaches at Allied Music in Billings, MT, and also teaches adjunctly at Sheridan College in Sheridan, WY and Rocky Mountain College in Billings, MT.  As a freelance musician Parker has performed with jazz musicians Jeff Hamilton, Ronnie Bedford, Jack Walrath, and Nick Mancini.


Eric Richards

Eric Richards

Dr. Eric Richards is the Director of Bands and Jazz Studies at Sheridan College where he serves as Music Director of the Sheridan Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble and Jazztet, performs with the SC Faculty Jazztet and works with his faculty colleagues to develop program initiatives in recruiting, outreach, and curriculum development. 

From 2008 – 2015, Dr. Richards served as tenured Associate Professor of Composition and Jazz Studies in the Glenn Korff School of Music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). At UNL, he mentored undergraduate through doctoral students in applied composition (classical and jazz/vernacular styles), taught related courses such as Orchestration and Jazz Arranging, and directed the award-winning UNL Jazz Orchestra “2.0”. 


His students are the recipients of major awards for their composition and arranging to include Downbeat Student Music Awards for Original Composition and Original Arrangement as well as the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award. Dr. Richards is the recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Teaching Award in the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts.

From 2004-2008, he served as Director of Instrumental Music at Midland University (Fremont, Neb.) where he directed the Concert Band, Brass Ensemble, Jazz Combo, High School Honour Band, Pep Band and taught all undergraduate music theory courses.

Dr. Richards’ work as a teacher is energized by his professional activity as a composer/arranger, conductor, and trombonist. A composer who defines himself as a “contemporary American eclectic”, he has written music for groups ranging from rural high school marching bands to chamber music ensembles to nationally recognized big bands and symphony orchestras. 


Eric’s music has been heard worldwide in performances and recordings by ensembles such as: 

  • National Symphony Orchestra
  • Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
  • Boston Pops Orchestra
  • Detroit Symphony Orchestra
  • New York Pops Orchestra
  • US Army Field Band and Jazz Ambassadors
  • USAF Band and the Airmen of Note
  • USAF Academy Falconaires
  • US Army Band (Pershing's Own)
  • US Marine Band (The President's Own)
  •  Colorado Christian University Jazz Ensemble
  • Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Jazz Orchestra
  • University of North Texas Wind Ensemble
  • Shanghai Conservatory of Music Jazz Ensemble
  • Washington State University Jazz Band