Born: February 16, 1984 Primary Instrument: Trombone
Shawn began his musical journey at the age of ten in his home town of Dowagiac, Michigan. He excelled in all things musical including his school’s band program, local and state honor bands, and any other playing opportunities he could find. These efforts eventually led him to continue his training at Western Michigan University.
The time that Shawn spent at WMU afforded him many wonderful opportunities. Among these were performing in the school’s top notch ensembles, leading his own quintet in gigs throughout West Michigan, and learning from great faculty and guest artists such as Slide Hampton, Bobby McFerrin, Stephon Harris, and Randy Brecker. During this time, Shawn was also keeping busy as a commercial trombonist playing in many pit orchestras, a Motown cover band, and with a large gospel church, Christian Life Center.
In the spring of 2007, Shawn was selected to be a part of the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. This program features fifteen to twenty young jazz musicians and composers from around the world who perform and write their own music. They come together for a two week residency program that culminates in several concerts on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. Shawn is still active as a composer and arranger. His writing can be heard in his own group, high school big bands, and collegiate big bands. As an arranger Shawn has worked in genres ranging from straight ahead jazz to pop to R&B.
Along with performing, Shawn also is sought after as an educator. He has worked as a private instructor, clinician, and band leader throughout the Midwest. Many of his students have gone on to collegiate music programs and careers in music. In 2009 one of the high schools Shawn is currently working for was chosen as a finalist in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington Competition. He is currently the director of the Northern Illinois University all university jazz band.
Shawn is currently a graduate student at Northern Illinois University. While in school he has had the opportunity to tour with jazz legends such as Curtis Fuller and Benny Golson. In 2009 Shawn has also traveled to Lima, Peru and Bogota, Colombia to perform with the Northern Illinois University Liberace Jazztet. Along with touring Shawn has enjoyed working with the faculty at NIU including highly regarded jazz educator Ronald Carter.
Shawn is currently living in Rockford, Illinois while pursuing a master’s degree in jazz studies at Northern Illinois University. He also enjoys playing tennis, cooking, and spending time with his wife Julie.
Awards:Liberace Scholar at Northern Illinois University (2008-present) Kennedy Center Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Residency (2007) International Trombone Association JJ Johnson Jazz Competition-alternate finalist (2006)
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
Private Instructor Roscoe Middle School, Roscoe, Il (2007-present) Winnebago Community unit School District, Winnebago, Il (2007-present) Belvidere School District, Belvidere, Il (2007-2009) Dekalb High School, Dekalb, Il (2008-2009) Goshen School District, Goshen In (2006-2007) Private lessons and/or section coaching Beloit Memeorial High School, Beloit, Wi (2007-present) Beloit Memorial High School Jazz Band 1 chosen as finalist in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington competition (2009) Concord School District, Elkhart, In (2006-2007) Northwood High School, Nappanee, In (2006-2007) Dowagiac Union High School, Dowagiac, Mi (2005) Berrien Springs High School, Berrien Springs, Mi (2003-2005) University Teaching Assistant Northern Illinois University All University Jazz Band director (2009-present) Northern Illinois University Liberace Jazztet leader (2009-present) Northern Illinois University Undergraduate combo instructor (2008-2009)
Clinician Brass Clinician at high schools throughout Midwest including North Scott High School(Eldridge, Ia), Lake Geneva High School(Lake Geneva, Il), East High School(Wauwatosa, Wi), and Oswego High School(Oswego, Il) Brass Clinician during the Northern Illinois University Liberace Jazztet’s tour to Bogota, Colombia