Since its inception in 1977, the DeMiero Jazz Fest has taken on several names while always staying true to its mission and vision. The festival was initially known as the Soundsation Jazz Festival and it was produced by student leaders in Soundsation and founder/director Frank DeMiero. It later became known as the Lynnwood Jazz Festival when the city of Lynnwood became the primary naming sponsor. Later, the festival was dubbed the Edmonds Community College Jazz Festival. In 2005, The Friends of Frank DeMiero began co-hosting the festival and for the past several years the festival has simply been named the DeMiero Jazz Fest. To avoid confusion, in 2014 the organization became officially known as the “DeMiero Jazz Festival” and our annual event remains titled the “DeMiero Jazz Fest”.
In the mid 70’s Frank and two other Jazz Choir directors met and shared what they would like to see in a Jazz Choir Festival. At the time all major jazz festivals were competitive. There were strict rules at these festivals: a limited and specific number of singers, the number of rhythm section members, the length of performance time and more. And, of course, there was only one fist place winner, with everyone else going home in the losers bracket.
Kirby Shaw, College of the Siskiyou in Weed, CA and Peter Taylor, Carson Grahma Secondary in Vancouver BC met with Frank DeMiero, Edmonds Community College, WA. All shared the importance of developing a Non-Competitive festival, a festival where every student wins. The DeMiero Jazz Festival was born and became the first Non-Competitive Jazz Choir Festival in the country. As they say, the rest is history.
Students and directors come to our festival to learn. It doesn’t matter if you are a novice or an experienced performing group. As long as you give your all and do you best, you are a winner at the DeMiero Jazz Fest. Along with presenting a performance and receiving an on stage clinic, there are workshops and clinics throughout the day in scatting, soloing, instrumental development, stage protocol, ensemble singing and more.
Participating groups come early and stay through the evening concert. In this way every jazz choir member has the opportunity to grow in all facets of the learning process.
Guest artists are selected utilizing four criteria:
- Outstanding Performance – a world class artist
- Outstanding Entertainer – an artist who can perform with technique in an inspirational manner
- Outstanding Communicator – the ability to share knowledge and wisdom with students at all levels and with all years of experience
- An Outstanding Person – a nice person who works well and gets along with everyone (this is too much work not to have fun!)
And since our inception we have been privileged to have an exceptional list of Guest Artists and Clinicians.
Here at the DeMiero Jazz Fest, we believe that everyone should have the chance to dig — and be dug in return.