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NMC Jazz Ensembles

The NMC Jazz Ensembles include both community members and traditional college students. They rehearse once a week and perform at least one concert each semester. Groups include: Jazz Lab Band, Vocal Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Big Band.

Jazz Lab Band and Jazz Big Band - JOSH WAGNER, Director

Open to community members and college students, the NMC Jazz Bands are a course for the performer with a focus on big band jazz ensemble techniques and styles. A wide range of jazz styles are covered including swing, be-bop, ballads, rock/fusion and Latin. Some improvisation is explored and always encouraged, though it is not the main focus. The band operates on the academic calendar of the College. Rehearsals are held in Milliken Auditorium each Monday of the semester. There are up to six (6) performances during the academic year. The final concert each semester is presented at Milliken Auditorium. Others have included appearances at Leelanau UnCaged and the Thursday night Jazz 4 All! series at The Alluvion with the Jeff Haas Trio. This course may also be taken for academic credit.

An audition/playing assessment is required and consists of prepared selections received from the director in advance and a piece of sight reading received during the actual audition. Time and date will be arranged with the director. Placement in ensembles is based on current openings and ability level. Jazz experience is a plus but not a necessity. New potential members should arrange an audition by emailing

Register for NMC Jazz Band @ 5:30 PM

Register for NMC Jazz Band @ 7:30 PM



Rehearsals are every Monday of the College academic calendar in Milliken Auditorium. 5:30pm-7:15pm for the Jazz Lab Band; 7:30pm-9:15pm for the Jazz Big Band


Joshua Wagner received his AA degree in Music from Southwestern Michigan College, his Bachelor of Music Education from Central Michigan University, and his Masters of Music in Jazz Studies and Trumpet Performances from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. During his studies at IU he was the recipient of the Jamey and Sara Aebersold Jazz Studies Fellowship and played lead trumpet in the ensemble of legendary jazz educator David N. Baker.

Josh has been teaching at NMC since 2014. In addition to his duties as Director of Jazz Bands he is the Music Appreciation and Applied Trumpet instructor. Prior to teaching at NMC Josh was the Applied Trumpet and Jazz Improvisation instructor at Southwestern Michigan College. He taught band in Buchanan (MI) before being recruited to work at Culver Academies (IN) and Culver Summer Schools and Camps (IN) where he expanded the jazz program and founded the Naval School Honor Drum Drill Team (2003). He was honored for Educational Excellence by the Culver Educational Foundation (CEF) and Culver Summer School Alumni Association (CSSAA) on multiple occasions throughout his tenure (2003-2018). Josh has served on both the jazz faculty as a large ensemble director and brass faculty teaching trumpet and coaching staff chamber ensembles for Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. He is an adjudicator and clinician for the Michigan School Band & Orchestra Association (MSBOA), CMU/Phi Mu Alpha Jazz Festival, and in demand as a clinician and guest director.

Josh has toured with broadway shows for NETworks Tours including as 1st Trumpet for the “Bullets Over Broadway.” He regularly performs with groups such as the Traverse Symphony Jazz Orchestra, Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra, Elan Artists Private Event Company, Traverse Symphony Orchestra, and any other experience that comes his way. Josh has performed at the Detroit Jazz Festival, Bay County Jazz Festival, Notre Dame Jazz Festival, Elmhurst Jazz Festival, Bloomington Jazz Festival, CMU/Phi Mu Alpha Jazz Weekend, MSBOA District 6 Jazz Festival, and the Bay View Music Festival. He is an Endorsed Performing Artist by Vincent Bach/Conn-Selmer and plays exclusively on their Stradivarius line of brass instruments.