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Shawano Jazz Festival 
March 9, 2024


Our history

The Shawano Jazz Foundation was created in 2009 by Alexandra Isaacson during her senior year at Shawano High School. Isaacson donated a $250 scholarship that she had received, and then executed initial fund-raising that provided two summer-music scholarships later that year. Thanks to strong community support, notably from founding board members Dr. Jeff and Holly Zander, the then 17-year-old Isaacson and Shawano band director Christopher Kent expanded the Foundation to include an annual weekend jazz festival in Shawano...


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Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Barb Catlin has become one of the leading jazz educators in the Southwest. After eighteen successful years in Arizona, she returned to her home state of California where she directs the jazz programs at Pomona College and the California Institute of Technology. Barb has many accolades as a jazz pianist, including being named as a Downbeat “Player to Catch”, but is equally well-known for her tenure as musical director of the highly acclaimed youth honor jazz program, The Young Sounds of Arizona, as well as her years as director of jazz studies at Mesa Community College.

Barb majored in music education on woodwinds at California State University at Fresno, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Grand Canyon University with a B.S. in Music Education, and completed and a Master’s in Music Education with an emphasis in Jazz Studies on piano from Arizona State University where she was the recipient of the William English Music Education Award.

Her enthusiasm for playing, “real-life” approach to education, and expertise in the rhythm section has made Barb a popular clinician and adjudicator at the high school and college levels. Barb has directed the Arizona All-State High School Jazz Band, the California All-State Junior High School Jazz Band, the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association’s (SCSBOA) Honor High School Jazz Ensemble, the Wisconsin All State Honor Jazz Band and many regional honor ensembles. She has been a featured clinician/guest artist at Fred Sturm’s acclaimed Lawrence Jazz Festival, Kris Berg’s Collin Jazz Festival, Paul Lucceksi’s San Joaquin Jazz Festival, Dana Landry’s Northern Colorado University Jazz Festival, ASU’s Highland Jazz Festival, the Western States Jazz festival, the Irvine Jazz Festival, the N.A.U Jazz Festival, and has presented clinics at state conferences both in Arizona, California and Wisconsin.

Barb was awarded a “Lifetime Achievement Award” by Jazz in Arizona for her outstanding contribution to jazz education in the state of Arizona and was recently named the CMEA “Paul Shaghoian” Jazz Educator Award for 2021.

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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, recorded 14 solo CD's and has played on hundreds of records, films, television shows, and commercial jingles.

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 CD was nominated for a GRAMMY Award 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 23 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.

2023 Scholarship Partners

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