2022 First Annual PLU Weathermon Jazz Festival

The PLU Music Department invites High School Jazz Bands to register for our PLU Weathermon Jazz Festival. In its first edition, the festival is sponsored by the Pacific Lutheran University Department of Music and the Dick and Helen Weathermon Joyful Noise Endowment for Jazz Studies.

As of Saturday, March 12, 2022 the PLU campus has moved to a mask-optional policy in concert with changes at the state level and recommendations of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. In addition, the university will no longer mandate proof of vaccination for visitors attending campus events.


Tuesday, March 22, 2022
Mary Baker Russell Music Center & Karen Hille Phillips Center for Performing Arts
Dr. Cassio Vianna, Director

The PLU Weathermon Jazz Festival is a non-competitive music event that aims to provide helpful feedback to jazz ensembles and band directors; to inspire the next generations of jazz musicians through professional concerts, clinics, and masterclasses; and to build connections in the jazz community within our region and beyond.

  • Performance/clinic: Each school band will perform and receive notes from two clinicians, as well as a 30-minute clinic from a professional jazz educator following their performance
  • Midday Concert:  The PLU Jazz Ensemble will perform a short concert featuring guest trumpeter Greg Gisbert
  • Masterclass: Greg Gisbert will give a masterclass accompanied by the PLU Jazz Faculty, followed by Q&A
  • Registration fee: $150


We are proud to announce trumpeter Greg Gisbert as our special guest this year. Greg Gisbert has firmly established himself as one of the most sought-after and well-respected artists in jazz today. He has recorded and performed with jazz greats including Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Clark Terry, Horace Silver, Maynard Ferguson, Bobby Shew, John Fedchock, Harry Connick Jr., Jim McNeely, Toshiko Akiyoshi, and Nancy Wilson. He is one of the founding members of the group Convergence, as well as the founder of the Greg Gisbert Syndicate, both based in Denver, CO. Gisbert is a frequent invited guest with an array of ensembles, including the Maria Schneider and Vanguard Jazz Orchestras, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, and Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band.


Singer/trumpeter/bandleader and educator Jake Bergevin has recorded two albums as leader and has been a featured artist with diverse groups such as the Tacoma Symphony, the Spokane Jazz Orchestra, Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra, and many more. He leads his own groups including the Javatown Swing Orchestra and the Jake Bergevin Quartet and can also be heard playing with many other notable northwest bands and musicians. Jake has played performances at many of Seattle’s most prestigious venues and events, including the Showbox Theatre, Paramount Theatre, Bumbershoot, Folklife Festival, five years running at the Ellensburg Jazz in the Valley Festival. Also a successful band director and conductor, Jake Bergevin has held leadership positions with the IAJE (International Association for Jazz Education). He has served as the WMEA (Washington Music Education Association) Jazz Curriculum Chair and led the Educator Track at the Centrum Jazz Port Townsend Festival. He has continued to share his passion for music with many successful students through music mentoring in both public and private teaching settings.

Susie Jones is a jazz educator recently retired from Mt. Hood Community College. Under her direction, the MHCC Jazz Band performed at the IAJE convention in New York in 2007, received an IAJE award for “top ten campus CDs”, and has toured Taiwan six times on government sponsored tours. Susie served as the Jazz Chair for the Oregon Music Educators Association for 8 years, is past president of the Oregon Unit of International Association for Jazz Education, and is president of the Board of Directors for the Mt. Hood Jazz Festival, producing that festival in 2008, 2009, 2013, and 2014. Susie directed the Community College All-Star Band at the IAJE convention in Toronto in 2008, and contributed a chapter in the book “Teaching Music Through Performance In Jazz”,  GIA Publications. Prior to her appointment at Mt. Hood Community College, she taught for 9 years in the North Clackamas School District and 8 years in the David Douglas School District. Susie also served on the Board of Directors at Mt. Hood Community College and Multnomah Education Service District.

Ron Gerhardstein is Associate Professor of Music Education at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) where he teaches coursework in the music education curriculum and serves as the conductor of the PLU Concert Band. Dr. Gerhardstein has taught instrumental and vocal music in both public and private settings in the states of Washington, Idaho, Pennsylvania, and Ohio for 18 years.  He earned the Ph.D. in Music Education from Temple University where he studied with Edwin Gordon and Beth Bolton.  He studied saxophone performance with Robert Miller at the University of Idaho.

From 2005 – 2014, he was the band director at West Valley High School in Yakima, WA.  His band program had a strong reputation for excellence in all areas (Concert Band, Jazz Band, and Marching Band).  His WVHS groups won numerous awards of excellence and have been honored with clinic performances at the WMEA state conference as well as guest artist jazz performances with Terell Stafford (2011) and Wycliffe Gordon (2013).  Ron is an active member of WMEA serving a term as the Regional President of the Yakima Valley region, WMEA All-State Concert Band Site Manager, and was elected to the WMEA Board as the Band Curriculum Officer for the 2010-12 Biennium.  He serves often as a mentor for young teachers, clinician, festival adjudicator, and has worked as a guest conductor for the Lower Columbia Region, the Washington Ambassadors of Music, and he directed the 2017 WMEA Junior All-State “Rainier” Band. Dr. Gerhardstein was honored as the 2014 WMEA / WIAA Music Educator of the Year.  He makes his home in Tacoma with his wife, Jerilyn, a first-grade teacher in the Bethel School District.

Kate Olson

Kate Olson is an improvising saxophonist and music educator based in Seattle, WA. She can be heard performing with her own projects KO SOLO and KO ELECTRIC, and as a collaborator with Syrinx Effect, Ask the Ages, the Seattle Rock Orchestra, the Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble and Electric Circus (led by Wayne Horvitz), the Seattle Jazz Composer’s Ensemble and with such Seattle staples as the Seattle Men’s and Women’s Choruses and cabaret producers Can Can Presents and Verlaine & McCann. Kate has a BA in Music (Jazz Emphasis) from the University of Wyoming and an MM in Improvisation from the University of Michigan.

Kate’s international resume continues to grow, including performances in Russia, Latvia, Turkey, Switzerland, South Korea, Cuba, and Slovakia. She has appeared on stage with Terry Riley, Stuart Dempster, Pauline Oliveros, Allison Miller, Bobby Previte, Skerik, Patricia Barber and pop music icons Elvis Costello, Brandi Carlile, Sir Mix-a-lot, Matt Cameron, and Big Star’s Third (featuring members of REM, the Posies, and Nada Surf) among others. Kate was nominated in 2011 and 2013 for the Earshot Golden Ear Award in the Emerging Artist category, and in 2014 and 2016, she was nominated for the Best NW Instrumentalist Category, and in 2016 her band KO Ensemble was also nominated as best NW Alternative Group. In 2019, KO Ensemble won a Golden Ear Award for Best Acoustic Ensemble.

Cassio Vianna is Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies at Pacific Lutheran University, where he directs the PLU Jazz Ensemble and teaches jazz classes and lessons on jazz composition and jazz piano. Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Vianna holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Brazilian Popular Music from Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, a Master of Music degree in Contemporary Music from Western Oregon University, and a Doctor of Arts degree in Jazz Studies from the University of Northern Colorado.

Vianna’s compositions for jazz ensemble have received awards from the National Band Association, Jazz Education Network, Ithaca College Jazz Composition Contest, and International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers. His works have been performed by artists such as Ernie Watts, Chris Potter, Martha Reeves, Lynn Anderson, Tony Kadleck, Clay Jenkins, the United States Army Field Band (Jazz Ambassadors), Chuck Owen’s Jazz Surge Band, and the Colorado Jazz Orchestra,  among others. Vianna’s jazz big band charts are published by UNC Jazz Press. Over the past 15 years, Vianna has been featured as an adjudicator, performer, and clinician at jazz festivals and conferences in the U.S., Brazil, Paraguay, and China. In recent years, he has presented clinics and masterclasses at the Jazz Education Network Annual Conferences, the Midwest Clinic, International Composers’ Symposium, NAfME Northwest Conference, and the Washington Music Educators Association Conference. Vianna is also a very active clinician with high school and college bands.