SAVE THE DATE: The 2025 PLU Weathermon Jazz Festival will take place on Tuesday, March 18, 2025.

Check back in the Fall for more details!

PLU Weathermon Jazz Festival


March 19, 2024

Eastvold Auditorium - Karen Hille Phillips Center | Cassio Vianna, Director

The PLU School of Music, Theatre & Dance invites High School Jazz Bands to register for our PLU Weathermon Jazz Festival. The festival is sponsored by the Pacific Lutheran University School of Music, Theatre & Dance and the Dick and Helen Weathermon Joyful Noise Endowment for Jazz Studies. A non-competitive music event, this festival 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.

Festival Highlights

  • Performance/clinic: Each school band will perform and receive a 30-minute clinic from two professional jazz educators following their performance on stage
  • Midday Concert:  The PLU Jazz Ensemble will perform a short concert
  • Artist Talk/Q&A: Guest artist Eric Marienthal will give a masterclass, followed by a Q&A session
  • Registration fee: $200
  • Evening Concert: A full performance with the PLU Jazz Ensemble and the PLU Jazz Faculty (7:30pm)


Eric MarienthalEric Marienthal is a two time GRAMMY Award winner and has been nominated 9 times. After graduating high school in Southern California in 1976, Eric went on to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. There he studied with the legendary saxophone professor, Joe Viola. By the time he left Berklee, Eric had achieved the highest proficiency rating given by the school. In 1995, Eric was awarded the Berklee Distinguished Alumnus Award for outstanding achievements in contemporary music. He has since gone on to perform in over 75 different countries, and has played on hundreds of records, films, television shows, and commercial jingles. Eric has recorded 15 solo CDs including his latest Grammy® Award nominated CD entitled Double Dealin’ with legendary trumpeter Randy Brecker.

Eric started his professional career in 1980 with famed New Orleans trumpeter Al Hirt. After returning to Los Angeles Eric became a member of the famed Chick Corea Elektric Band. He recorded 6 CD’s with the band and won 2 GRAMMY Awards. Eric went on to join the Jeff Lorber Fusion. Among the CD’s Eric recorded with Jeff, 2 were nominated for GRAMMY Awards. Jeff Lorber was instrumental is producing many of Eric’s CD’s. Other artists Eric has performed with include Elton John, Barbara Streisand, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick, Burt Bacharach, Aaron Neville, Johnny Mathis, Dave Grusin, Lee Ritenour, George Duke, David Benoit, The Rippingtons, The Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band, Patti Austin, Lou Rawls, David Lee Roth, The Yellowjackets, B.B. King, Ramsey Louis, Patti Labelle, Olivia Newton-John, and many others.

Among Eric’s 15 solo CDs, his latest is a collaboration with legendary trumpeter Randy Brecker entitled “Double Dealin’ on Shanachie Records. This album was nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. Eight of the songs that Eric has recorded have made it to the top 10 of the National Contemporary Jazz Radio Charts and three have made it to #1. Eric was voted as being one of the year’s “Favorite Alto Sax Players” in Jazziz Magazine’s Reader’s Poll along with David Sanborn and Phil Woods.

Since 2015 Eric has maintained an online saxophone school with ArtistWorks. In Eric’s school there are over 200 video lessons, tracks, songs, exercises and more for every level of player from beginners to advanced players. Students can also take advantage of the Video Exchanges where they can submit a video of whatever they are working on and Eric posts a video response for the students to see.

Eric has also written 3 instructional books, “Comprehensive Jazz Studies & Exercises”, The Ultimate Jazz Play Along” and “The Music Of Eric Marienthal” as well as 3instructional videos, “Play Sax From Day One”, “Modern Sax” and “Tricks Of The Trade”, all published by Warner Bros. Publications which is now Alfred Publishing/Belwin Jazz.

For the past 25 years Eric has put on an annual fundraising concert for High Hopes. High Hopes is a non-profit organization in Orange County, California that works with people who have suffered traumatic head injuries. With the help of many guest artists who have donated their time to perform, these concerts to date have raised well over $2,000,000 for this charity.


Susie Jones

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.

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.

Don Norton

Dr. Don Norton is an Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Portland. As a saxophonist and woodwind artist, he has performed throughout the United States and abroad in a variety of styles that include jazz, classical, world music, and musical theater. He also serves as a clinician with the Vandoren Artist-Clinician Program and has presented at conferences of the Jazz Education Network, the North American Saxophone Alliance, and the Oregon Music Education Association. He holds degrees from the University of Northern Colorado, the New England Conservatory of Music, and Northern Illinois University.

Connor Eisenmenge

Louisville, Kentucky native Conner Eisenmenger is a newcomer to the Seattle area scene, and he seems to make a friend everywhere he goes. Always searching for ways to live a music-filled life, Conner keeps a busy schedule as a composer, bandleader, and clinician. Conner has performed with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, the NY Afro Bop Alliance, The Harry James Orchestra, Johnny Mathis, The Abilene Philharmonic, and more. In 2022 he received the ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award for his piece, “Choice Paralysis,” played by his 5-piece ensemble, the Think Tank. Before moving out West, Conner earned a bachelor’s degree at Western Kentucky University and received a master of music in jazz studies from the University of North Texas where he played for two years in the grammy-nominated One O’clock Lab Band and served as a teaching fellow. KNKX describes Conner’s passion for a life in music as “infectious in the best way.”


Cassio Vianna is the Director of Jazz Studies and Assistant Professor of Music at Pacific Lutheran University where he directs the University Jazz Ensemble and teaches jazz music courses. Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Dr. Vianna is a composer, pianist, arranger, and educator whose work reflects the broad range of musical and cultural influences he has received during his years of training. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, a Master of Music degree from Western Oregon University, and a Doctor of Arts degree in Jazz Studies from the University of Northern Colorado

Dr. Vianna has been featured as a performer/clinician at festivals and conferences in Latin America and across the U.S; he is also a very active clinician with high school and college bands. In recent years, Dr. Vianna’s compositions for jazz ensemble have received national recognition, including awards from the National Band Association, Ithaca College Jazz Composition Contest, Jazz Education Network, and the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers (ISJAC).  His compositions and arrangements have been performed by artists such as Chris Potter, Martha Reeves, Tony Kadleck, Greg Gisbert, Ernie Watts, Danny Gottlieb, Clay Jenkins, Brad Goode, the United States Army Field Band (Jazz Ambassadors), the UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival All-Star Big Band, and the Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra, among others. His most recent CD, the album Infância (2017, Teal Creek Music) features his original compositions for jazz orchestra, which are published by UNC Jazz Press.

Clipper Anderson is one of the Northwest’s leading bassists. Known for his improvisational virtuosity, his steady presence in the groove pocket and his command of multiple styles, bassist Clipper Anderson is one of the most highly regarded musicians on the Northwest jazz scene today. Equally comfortable with straight-ahead, traditional, free jazz or bebop, he plays with genuine reverence for the music and an unassuming mastery that speaks for itself. Clipper has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a composer, performer, studio musician, vocalist and educator. He plays at jazz festivals throughout the United States and Canada and has appeared at the Port Townsend Jazz Festival, the Highland Jazz Festival, the Fairbanks Summer Art Festival, the Crown of the Continent Guitar Foundation Festival, the Blaine Jazz Festival and the Buddy DeFranco/University of Montana Jazz Festival, the latter four of which he plays annually. He has shared the bandstand with a long list of jazz luminaries including Michael Brecker, Arturo Sandoval, Dave Samuels, Peter Erskine, Bruce Forman, Tamir Hendelman, Bob Mintzer, Lew Soloff, Bucky Pizzarelli, Benny Golson, Paquito D’Rivera, Phil Woods and Buddy DeFranco. As a session musician, Clipper has appeared on numerous recordings, including five with Northwest vocal icon Greta Matassa. Clipper’s 2012 CD “The Road Home,” marked his debut as a solo artist and composer and held the top 20-22 spots on the national jazz radio charts for several months.

Mark Ivester - Lecturer, Drum Set

Mark Ivester is a versatile drummer and percussionist with extensive experience playing a variety of musical genres from rock to jazz to orchestral music. Mark has performed with numerous jazz artists of international stature including Larry Coryell, Freddie Hubbard, Diane Schuur, Mose Allison, Charlie Byrd and Eartha Kitt. He currently performs and records with the Jovino Santos Neto Quartet, Greta Matassa and Susan Pascal. Ivester has also performed with the Honolulu, Spokane and Walla Walla symphony orchestras. Ivester is a founding member of the professional percussion ensemble Happy Hammers, a group that performs a broad cross-section of percussion music of various ethnic origins including the steel drums from Trinidad, African drumming of the Ewe and Yoruba tribes, Afro-Cuban drumming, Brazilian sambas, and jazz for mallet keyboard instruments. Ivester earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Eastern Washington University, and he did undergraduate and graduate work in ethnomusicology at the University of Hawaii that included field study in gamelan music on the island of Java.

For Questions:

Dr. Cassio Vianna, Assistant Professor of Music; Director of Jazz Studies
School of Music, Theatre & Dance; Pacific Lutheran University
(253) 535-7760 e-mail:

Abby Deskins, Coordinator of Educational Outreach Programs
College of Professional Studies; Pacific Lutheran University
(253) 535-7877 e-mail: