NIU Jazz Camp


NIU Jazz Camp Registration 

Calling All Instrumentalists!

July 7 - 12, 2019
Grades 8 - 12, grade completion
Early Bird Registration (Postmarked June 1 or earlier) $600
Regular Registration (Postmarked June 2 or later) $650

This exciting camp is for enthusiastic jazz musicians of all skill levels who want to focus on a creative approach to improvisation and ensemble playing. This camp is jam-packed with performing, learning, and listening, and is for musicians who want to improve their understanding and performance of the jazz tradition.

Campers attend rehearsals, seminars, master classes, jam sessions, sectionals, and group classes, all taught by renowned NIU jazz faculty, alumni, and students. Concerts, optional private lessons, and recreational activities fill the evening hours. 

Campers participate in classes on jazz improvisation and jazz theory and attend instrument master classes that focus on specific techniques for performing jazz and related music. All-camp seminars include discussions on jazz styles and the business of music.  

Auditions and Ensembles

Campers audition on Sunday and are assigned to a big band, a combo, or the Latin Jazz Combo. 

Campers should prepare one piece for the audition. In addition, they are encouraged to improvise a solo on blues or rhythm changes, but this is not necessary. Sight-reading is part of the audition. Audition and evaluation results will be used to assign campers to classes and ensembles. 

The combos and big bands rehearse twice a day and perform at the concert on the final day of camp.

Jazz Bands Interpret and perform big band music from the 1930's to the present, playing the music of Basie, Ellington, Woody Herman, and others.

Jazz Combos Play in the small group chamber setting for jazz. Explore different approaches to improvisation and arranging techniques by playing jazz standards of the jazz masters.

Latin Jazz Combo Play in a small jazz chamber group that performs jazz, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, and various fusion styles.

Space is limited for certain instruments. We recommend early registration for this camp.

Check-In/Final Concert

Check-In: Sunday, July 7, 2019 Check-in is on Sunday between 12:00 - 2:00 p.m. First, campers and parents check into the camp residence hall, Gilbert Hall, with their luggage. Then, they bring their instruments to the nearby Music Building and pick up packets and sign up for private lessons. The Camp Orientation begins at 2:15 p.m. in the Music Building. 

Private Lessons Campers may elect to take private music lessons during the week at an additional cost of $30 per half hour. You may sign up for the lessons at the registration table on Sunday or in the External Programs office (Room 132 Music Building) beginning on Monday morning; you will be asked to pay either by check written to NIU (preferred) or cash when you sign up. More details will be available at registration and the orientation meeting.

Camp Orientation The camper/parent orientation meeting is at 2:15 p.m. with camp director Geof Bradfield and staff in the Concert Hall, NIU Music Building.  Parents welcome.  

Final Concert: Friday, July 12, 2019 The final concert is scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m. on Friday in the Music Building. Campers and parents will pick up campers' belongings at about 5 p.m. at the Gilbert residence hall immediately after the concert. 


Student Dorm: Gilbert Hall 383 Gilbert Drive, Dekalb IL 60115

Jazz Camp: Music Building 550 Lucinda Ave, Dekalb IL 60115

Parking Convenient free parking is available in the lot south of the Music and Art Buildings. Gilbert Hall is within easy walking distance of this lot and there is a small lot in front of Gilbert. 

Note: All times are subject to change. Be sure to check the camper letter that you will receive about one month before the start of camp to confirm the information. 

Camp Information

Camper Packets

Campers receive a packet with camp information, forms, and payment information in early June. This includes information about what to bring to camp, a final bill for the balance of payment, camper rules, and an information sheet about housing and meals. All this information (minus billing information) will be online by June 3. 

Health Information (New for 2019!)

We use an online service called Camp Docs to safely and securely collect camper health information. Once you have registered we will contact you via email to begin the process of submitting camper health information via Camp Docs. 

Registration and Payment

July 7 - 12, 2019 
Grades 8 - 12, grade completion
Early Bird Registration (Postmarked June 1 or earlier) $600
Regular Registration (Postmarked June 2 or later) $650

All registration forms must be accompanied by a deposit of $100. This may be paid by credit card or by check, made payable to Northern Illinois University. A registration form without the deposit will not be processed. The only exception is if you are applying for an NIU need scholarship; you will be expected to pay the $20 scholarship application fee only. See the scholarship section for more detail.

Online Registration Form - (Credit card payments only)

Paper Registration Form(Fax, mail, or print/scan/email. Payment via Credit card or checks mailed to the office) 

The balance of payment is due on June 14 If you paid the deposit by credit card, the balance will be charged to the same card by NIU on this date. Balance payments by check are due on this date. If you have any questions about billing or registration please contact us!

Scholarship Information

There is a limited amount of money available for need-based scholarships from NIU. The application form is available below or by calling the office at (815) 753-1450. Forms and application fees must be received by May 1. There is a $20 non-refundable application fee for NIU need scholarships. The fee will be applied towards the balance owed. Forms that do not include the application fee or that are missing requested information will not be processed.

If you are applying for a scholarship please send in the Paper Registration Form with your completed scholarship application. You do not need to pay the $100 deposit at this time, only the $20 scholarship application fee. Award letters are sent in mid-May.

In previous years, many campers have received scholarship aid from their schools, local booster clubs, PTAs, community theatres, and local service organizations. We recommend that you contact such groups in your area in early spring.

Summer in the Arts Need Scholarship Form


Returning Camper and Family Discount - Campers who have previously attended NIU Jazz camp and children and grandchildren of NIU staff, faculty, and students receive a $25 discount.

Early Bird Discount - Save when you register and pay the deposit by June 1 (postmark deadline). Camp often fills before the early bird deadline, so it is important to get your registration form in as early as possible if you know you want to attend a camp.

Cancellation/Refund Information

Before Camp

A full refund is provided if NIU cancels the camp or if the camp is full. A full refund may be allowed for campers who withdraw because of illness or a family emergency; these situations are decided on a case-by-case basis and documentation from a doctor or other professional is required.  If the camp is full, the camper is put on a waiting list and will not be charged.

A camper who withdraws more than 28 days before the start date of the camp receives a refund of all but $50.00.  A camper who withdraws 15-27 days before the start date of the camp receives a refund of all but $100.00. A camper who withdraws 14 days or less before the start date of camp does not receive a refund.

During Camp

A camper who leaves camp during the week because of illness or a family emergency may receive a prorated refund, provided documentation from a doctor or other professional is provided within one week of the date the camper left.  If the camper leaves camp during the week for other any other reason, the camper does not receive a refund.

All refunds are issued by the same method of payment that was used to make the payment. Credit card refunds are credited to the same credit card used for the payment within 2-3 days of the request. Refunds by check can take 4–6 weeks.

Camp Contact Information 

Mailing Address:
Summer in the Arts at Northern
Northern Illinois University, College of Visual and Performing Arts
1425 W. Lincoln Hwy
DeKalb, IL 60115

Phone: (815) 753-1450

Fax: 815-753-8372


Camp Staff

Summer in the Arts at Northern hires many talented individuals for the summer camps. NIU faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, alumni, guest artists and area teachers, serve as camp directors, instructors and counselors. Camp directors devise the camp curriculum and oversee the week's activities. All have had extensive teaching experience. Campers are supervised at all times; the ratio of adults to campers is about one to 12. Counselors are assigned to each residence hall floor and accompany the campers to all meals and activities.


Geof Bradfield (Camp Director)

Geof Bradfield's work as a saxophonist, composer, and bandleader synthesizes jazz and other African Diaspora influences with formal practices from the Western European tradition. 

He has performed throughout the U.S., Europe, Russia, Africa and the Middle East both as a sideman and as a leader of his own ensembles. His work is featured on 50+ CDs, including six critically acclaimed albums as a leader. As a composer, he has received commissions and awards from ArtWorks (with Guggenheim Fellow Ryan Cohan), Chamber Music America, Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago DCASE, Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Michigan State University Jazz Ensemble, Black Metropolis Research Consortium, the Mellon Foundation and DownBeat Magazine (Rising Star arranger, 2015 DownBeat Critics Poll).


Mark Dahl

Mark Dahl (big band director) holds a bachelor’s degree in saxophone performance and a master’s degree in music education from NIU. He has studied conducting with Steven Squires and Ronnie Wooten and jazz pedagogy with Ron Carter. He is currently band director and assistant division chair for fine arts at Lyons Township High School in LaGrange. The program consists of two concert bands, symphonic band, wind ensemble, marching band, jazz band, jazz lab band and jazz ensemble.

Mark’s groups have been selected and performed at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago, the Illinois Music Educators Association State Convention, the Illinois Superstate Band Festival and the Essentially Ellington Competition in New York City. In addition to his school responsibilities, Mark conducts clinics and performs throughout the Chicago area and has been on the staff of the Birch Creek Summer Jazz Camp (2001-2009) and the Northern Illinois University Jazz Camp (2010-present).


Marybeth Kurnat

Marybeth Kurnat (instructor, co-head counselor) holds a B.M. in Music Education from NIU, and has been teaching professionally since 2012. She currently teaches 6th grade band, jazz and general music at Huntley Middle School, and is an arranger and co-director for the DeKalb High School a cappella program. ​During her career as a public school educator, she has been nominated for a Golden Apple Award and Kane County Educator of the Year. She also maintains a private woodwind studio, and is frequently engaged as a festival clinician and adjudicator. Marybeth has a dynamic performance background in instrumental music, vocal music and theater. She is a member of the St. Charles Singers and the Chicago Choral Artists. ​She has been on the NIU Jazz Camp ​staff since 2011​.


Lexi Nomikos

More information on Lexi coming soon!


Lenard Simpson

More information on Lenard coming soon!



Kimberly Branch

Kimberly Branch (instructor, counselor) is currently pursuing a degree in jazz studies and music education at NIU. She performs with several NIU ensembles, including the Jazz Ensemble, Wind Symphony, Huskie Marching Band, and various jazz combos. She has many years of experience as a private instructor. She was the trumpet clinician at Dillard Center for the Arts Summer Jazz Camp in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for the past three years. She was a counselor and taught voice and trumpet lessons at the 2012 NIU Jazz Camp.


Bobby Cooper

More information on Bobby coming soon!



Kyle McComb

Kyle McComb (percussion instructor. counselor) Kyle McComb is a member the NIU jazz studies program (receiving his Bachelor’s of Music Performance degree in May 2018), and plays regularly in the Chicago area. While at NIU, Kyle has performed with the NIU Jazz Ensemble, Latin Jazz Ensemble, and various jazz combos and classical ensembles. He has studied percussion, pedagogy, improvisation, and composition with Rodrigo Villanueva, Juan Pastor, Quin Kirchner, Greg Beyer, Mike Mixtacki, Ben Wahlund, Robert Chappell, Reggie Thomas, Geof Bradfield, Fareed Haque, Art Davis, and David Maki. His playing and composition reflects his interest in jazz music as a music of interaction, spontaneity, and innovation. An affinity for many styles of music and a willingness to experiment musically has made Kyle an in-demand sideman in the Chicago scene. Kyle has instructed young musicians in situations varying from private lessons to jazz combos to big bands to percussion ensembles; his teaching emphasizes developing an individual approach to music that is based on a firm understanding of musical traditions and technique.

Everette Benton Jr.

Everette Benton Jr. (percussion instructor. counselor) Kyle McComb is a drummer based in Dekalb, Illinois. Originally from East St. Louis, he began playing drums at age 13, performing in his middle school and high school jazz groups and marching and concert bands. He performed in the IMEA (Illinois Music Education Association) Honors Big Band (2011) and Honors Combo (2012). He also performed with the East St. Louis Sr. High School Jazz Band as they made it to the Essentially Ellington Competition in New York. He is currently pursuing his Bachelors Degree in Music Performance (Jazz Studies) at Northern Illinois University, studying under Rodrigo Villanueva. He has performed with Reggie Thomas, Fareed Haque, Geof Bradfield, Marquis Hill, Adam Larson, the NIU Jazz Orchestra, Tim Warfield, among others.



Marlene Rosenberg

Marlene Rosenberg has emerged as one of the most talented and multi-faceted bassists on the scene today. She has played professionally throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Japan and toured with Joe Henderson, Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, Frank Morgan, Ed Thigpen, Albert "Tootsie" Heath, Benny Green, Roy Hargrove and Wallace Roney.

Currently at NIU she is coordinating the jazz combo program, and teaching Introduction to Jazz Studies. She is part time faculty at Northwestern in the small jazz ensemble program under the direction of Victor Goines. Ms. Rosenberg holds a Masters of Music in Jazz Pedagogy from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Bass and Composition from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.


Sam Dando

More information on Sam coming soon!



Scott Mertens 

Scott Mertens (piano instructor, big band director) is a pianist, educator, and composer/arranger in northern Illinois. He has a bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Missouri-Columbia. His master’s degree in music is from NIU. He has written jazz charts for Jim Martin's jazz music site, and he was a contributing author for the 2007 book by Ron Carter and Richard Miles, Teaching Music Through Performance in Jazz.

Scott currently performs in the Chicago area and has been a member of the Doug Stone/Doug Bratt Big Band. He was the director of the NIU Community School of the Arts Jazz Band, and has been a clinician at jazz festivals across the Midwest. He has worked extensively with middle and high school jazz bands, is a band director in Sycamore, Illinois, and has been with the NIU Jazz Camp for many years.



Tetsuya Nishiyama

More information on Tetsuya coming soon!



Nick Roach

Nick Roach holds a Bachelors of Music in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas and got his masters in jazz at NIU. Originally from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and recently relocated to Chicago, Nick has quickly established himself as an in-demand composer, arranger, educator and performer. Having performed in several states and on cruise ships on five continents, Nick is an adept and versatile musician on multiple instruments. As a composer/arranger, he has written for groups of all different sizes and instrumentations, from trombone quartets to big bands and everything in between. As a student and professional musician, Nick has had the privilege of performing with many respected musicians of different genres, such as Arthur Barrow, Cynthia Scott, Brad Leali, Carl Allen, Derrick Gardner, Corey Wilkes, Robert Irving III, Ari Brown, Andy Narell, Al Smith, Geof Bradfield, Reggie Thomas, Camille Thurman, Tim Warfield, Russ Phillips, Victor Garcia and Eric Schneider.