Continuing education brings a song to DMACC

Music Chair Jim Loos plays piano during jazz ensemble practice.

Music Chair Jim Loos plays piano during jazz ensemble practice.

By Jarrett Quick.

Experienced musicians and vocalists at DMACC are now able to stay musically active thanks to two jazz ensemble programs introduced earlier this year.

Both the vocal and instrumental programs are for experienced musicians and serve as an environment for local musicians to play and practice with like-minded people.

“We don’t want it to be a training program,” Jim Loos said. Loos is DMACC’s music program chair and professor.

The program has had a variety of talent levels take advantage of the opportunity to play, but being comfortable performing and having enough experience to play well is a requirement for the program.

“The guitar player had played at the UNI jazz band while he was at school,” Loos said.

Anyone from high school students looking to play jazz in an organized capacity to teachers taking advantage of the programs credit towards license renewal on teaching licenses have benefitted from the program. For $25, public school faculty can earn this renewal credit through the Heartland AEA.

“We decided to work it through continuing education because we wanted to attract people who weren’t necessarily students at DMACC,” Lois Kiester, continuing education coordinator, said.

“They all really want to perform and this helps provide them an audience,” Keister said.

This semester the songs have yet to be chosen for the new group. Traditionally, the program practices and performs “the standard approach to jazz band repertoire … from salsa to big band,”  Loos said.

Last semester, the program performed one jazz standard, a pop standard from  the 1930s, and a song by The Beatles.

On April 6, DMACC’s music program will present a concert on campus, including both jazz ensemble courses alongside the rest of DMACC’s musically inclined students.

For students interested in other Jazz opportunities on campus, DMACC also offers Jazz History and Appreciation with Instructor Scott Davis.

This semester, the Vocal Jazz Ensemble is offered  as a volunteer program  with no fee, while the Instrumental program is  $120 . Both programs have sign ups still available.

The Instrumental Jazz Ensemble meets 7 – 8:30 p.m. on Mondays until April 22 and the Vocal Jazz Ensemble meets 5:15 – 6:45 p.m. on Mondays until April 25. Both meet in Room 41 in Building 5. For more information, Program Chair Jim Loos can be contacted through e-mail at or at 515-964-6633.

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