Order Tickets
Latest News
Vermont Jazz Center to present live music during the Cotton Mill's Open House on Saturday, December 8th.


On Saturday, December 8th, the Vermont Jazz Center will present a full day of musical offerings to complement the festivities of the Cotton Mill's 20th Annual Open House.

Student groups will be performing at the VJC's performance space from 11:00 AM until 5:00 PM. All are invited to attend free of charge; donations towards the VJC Scholarship Fund will be gratefully accepted. Performances will take place at the Vermont Jazz Center's Concert Hall at the Cotton Mill Hill.

11:00 AM - Jacob Smith Trio
11:30 - Uke Jazz Ensemble, Benjamin Carr, director
12:00 - Northfield Mt. Hermon Jazz Ensemble, Ron Smith, director
12:40 - Latin Jazz Ensemble, Julian Gerstin and Eugene Uman, directors
1:30 - Samba Ensemble, Julian Gerstin and Ron Kelley, directors
1:50 - Youth Jazz Ensemble, Eugene Uman and Mike McKinney, directors
2:30 - COBRA (a musical improvisational game performed by area professionals) Anna Patton, director
3:00 - Guitar Ensemble, Draa Hobbs, director
3:30 - VJC Sextet, Rob Freeberg, director
4:15 - Blue Note Ensemble, Claire Arenius, director

Come join us at the Vermont Jazz Center from 11:00 AM until 5:00 PM on Saturday, December 8th, 2018. Your presence supports local talent performing in a variety of jazz styles. Free and open to the public. Dessert snacks will be available by donation.

VJC Big Band Scholarship Fund Raiser: A Tribute to Artie Shaw An evening of dance music utilizing the original arrangements of the Artie Shaw Orchestra, Friday, December 7th


On Friday, December 7th at 8:00 PM, the Vermont Jazz Center will present its 16th annual Big Band Gala Performance. The VJC Big Band, under the leadership of musical director Rob Freeberg, is a community orchestra made up of professional musicians who come together to raise money for the VJC Scholarship Fund.

This year's gala will feature the music made famous by the legendary clarinetist and bandleader Artie Shaw. The VJC will supplement its 16-piece big band with four affiliates of the renowned Artie Shaw Orchestra. Together they will perform an evening of dance music using original arrangements that helped the Artie Shaw Orchestra surge to stardom in the 1930s. The three current members of the Artie Shaw Orchestra who will perform with the VJC Big Band are vocalist Sarah Hayes, ASO Music Director and clarinetist Matt Koza and trumpeter Kerry MacKillop. Former orchestra member John Wheeler (and current trombonist for the VJC Big Band) will be showcased as a soloist.

All money raised from this annual gala will go directly to the VJC's Scholarship Fund. It serves as the primary funding source to assist scholarship students attending VJC's educational programs. The VJC offers an average of over $17,000 in scholarships each year to help students attend ensembles, private lessons and its annual summer jazz workshop.

The use of the original arrangements of the Artie Shaw Orchestra by a band other than the current ASO is extremely rare. The Jazz Center is extremely grateful to have been gifted the use of Shaw's esteemed repertoire for this one-time performance. This body of work has been well-loved by generations of big band aficionados; its familiar melodies, the ingenuity of the arrangements and its nostalgic essence form a force that brings together a community of people who consider Shaw's classic repertoire to be their dance music. Shaw was keenly aware of his audience's love for social dancing and the dance steps of his day. He set his orchestra's music to tempos that were perfect for the dance moves of the times. As an example, "Begin the Beguine," which will be performed at the Gala, has been hailed as the perfect Fox Trot.

The Artie Shaw Orchestra has always had a reputation for precision: the saxophone and brass sections were renowned for their ability to produce a focused sound that was enhanced by nuanced dynamics and unified phrasing. When listening closely to its recordings, especially those from the late 30s and early 40s, one hears that each section is unified in perfect synchronization: each section phrases together as one big, glorious, harmonized instrument. The Orchestra's sound was so clean and elegant that it became the band's signature.

Another major appeal of the Shaw Orchestra was the masterful clarinet playing of its leader. Artie Shaw was a consumate musician and a tremendous improviser; he was the featured soloist in virtually all of his early recordings and was considered the best clarinetist of his time. In fact, there was a palpable rivalry between Shaw and Benny Goodman. Shaw's obituary in the Washington Post stated: "On clarinet, Mr. Shaw had a fuller, more-dulcet tone than Goodman. Although Goodman was labeled the "King of Swing," jazz enthusiasts still debate whether Mr. Shaw better deserved the sobriquet, and his fans compensated by dubbing him the "King of the Clarinet."

The Vermont Jazz Center Big Band will perform Artie Shaw's timeless and swinging music in the company of 4 musicians who currently perform (or have recently done so) and tour as the Artie Shaw Orchestra. Clarinetist Matt Koza has been the ASO's music director since 2000 and he will be a featured soloist in the VJC's December 7th performance. He has studied the music of Artie Shaw under the guidance of another clarinet master, Dick Johnson, and has mastered the stylistic demands of the clarinet's function in swing music.

The vocalist for this year's gala is Sarah Hayes. She has worked with Benny Powell, Les Paul, Ken Peplowski, Steve Williams, Dick Hyman, Candido, Jay Leonhart, Joe Cohn, Lee Musiker, Jack Wilkins, Christian McBride, Bob Kaye, Bobby Porcelli and many others. She also performs with her own septet, Swing Society, and has appeared as a special guest with the legendary Duke Ellington Orchestra.

Joining the VJC's trumpet section is Kerry MacKillop. He has toured the world with the Artie Shaw Orchestra and The Woody Herman Band and has shared the stage with Dizzy Gillespie, Tony Bennett, Buddy DeFranco, Dick Johnson, Billy Eckstine, Rosemary Clooney, Joe Lovano, Frank Sinatra Jr., Helen Forrest, Margaret Whiting, and Helen O'Connell to name just a few. MacKillop maintains an active schedule as a free-lance performer and teacher in NYC, where he can be found performing with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, John Fedchock's New York Big Band, The Howard Williams Orchestra, and The Harry James Band among others.

The featured trombonist for the VJC Big Band is John Wheeler, a former member of the ASO. His recording credits include work with Maria Carey, George Benson, The Gypsy Kings, Janet Jackson, Luther Vandros, Patti Austin, Marc Cohen, Toni Braxton, Jody Watley, Terence Trent D'Arby, and Will Smith to name a few. Wheeler has performed throughout the world with such legendary artists as Aretha Franklin, Barry Manilow, Barry White and the Love Unlimited Orchestra, Bette Midler, Frank Sinatra Jr., John Tesh, Johnny Mathis, Joni Mitchell, Kansas, Kenny Rogers, Liza Minelli, Louie Bellson, Manhattan Transfer, Mel Torme, Natalie Cole, Ricky Martin, Roger Daltrey, Rosemary Clooney, Spinal Tap, The Funk Brothers, The Moody Blues, Tony Bennett, Wayne Newton, Yanni, Yes, and many others.

Mark Friday December 7th on your calendars and polish your dancing shoes to prepare for this fun evening. The VJC is fortunate to have board member Rob Freeberg guiding the VJC Big Band as its musical director. Freeberg ran the music department at New Rochelle High School, conducted a youth orchestra at Lincoln Center and led his own professional, award-winning large ensemble. The VJC Big Band was originally the brainchild of Howard Brofsky and Sherm Fox and happily celebrates 16 years in 2018 thanks in great part to Fox's persistence and organizational efforts. The performers of the VJC Big Band include trumpeters Don Anderson, Rick Anderson, Charlie Schneeweis and Rob Freeberg; woodwind players Michael Zsoldos, Sherm Fox, Bob Stabach, Larry Tutt and Nick Pelton; trombonists John Wheeler, Bob Thies and Caroline Cole, and rhythm section members Steve Cady (bass), Steve Rice (drums), Eugene Uman (piano).

Artie Shaw was in the top echelon of bandleaders during the Swing Era's height of popularity. Between 1935 and 1945 one could experience this music live and dance to the touring ensembles of Artie Shaw, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Woody Herman, Benny Goodman and the Dorsey Brothers. There is no substitute for listening and dancing to this music live--it wildly surpasses hearing it on record. Take advantage of the opportunity and spend the night reminiscing and dancing to beautiful, classic music: "Begin the Beguine," "Lady be Good," "Back Bay Shuffle," "Stardust" and "Frenesi" are just a handful of the swinging jazz standards made famous by Shaw's Orchestra, and they will be performed at the Vermont Jazz Center by a full, swing band--all while raising money for the VJC Scholarship Fund.

The VJC is especially grateful for the generosity of stalwart supporters Dianne Gallo and Steve Lieberman who for several years have underwritten the musician's fees and served as bartenders for this uplifting event. They continue to support the jazz center in many ways and will be assisting in the production of this concert as well. The VJC is also grateful to the Brattleboro Reformer, Holiday Inn Express, WVEW, WVPR and WFCR and WKVT.

Be sure to make your reservations early because this concert usually sells out quickly. Admission, which includes a delicious and complimentary dessert and snack buffet is on a sliding scale from $25-$45 for general admission without reserved seating or $30-$50 for reservations that include reserved seating (table spaces are limited). Tickets for The VJC Big Band performing the music of Artie Shaw at the Vermont Jazz Center are available at In the Moment in Brattleboro, or online at, and by email at Tickets can also be reserved by calling the Vermont Jazz Center ticket line, 802-254-9088, ext. 1. Handicapped access is available by calling the VJC at 802 254 9088.

Begin the Beguine

Lady Be Good:

The New Artie Shaw Orchestra feat. Kerry MacKillop on clarinet

Interview at 13:40. Artie Shaw after his return from retirement in 1984 - includes performances and interview w/Artie Shaw. Dick Johnson is featured clarinetist here.

Softly as in a Morning Sunrise: A selection from the 1984 concert featuring our dear friend and colleague Scott Mullett who solos at 4:40.

NPR Artie Shaw Audio Podcast:

Vermont Jazz Center to launch a new semester of classes starting on week of September 17th


The Vermont Jazz Center will host a new ten-week session of classes beginning the week of September 17th. Courses include Youth Jazz for ages 10 through high school, Anna Patton's Soubrette Choir, the Latin Jazz Ensemble, the Jazz Uke Ensemble, Claire Arenius' Blue Note Ensemble, a Jazz Guitar Ensemble with Draa Hobbs, and, NEW this semester, a Samba Percussion Ensemble led by Julian Gerstin and Ron Kelley.

Join a combo and learn how to perform classic jazz compositions while being guided by one of the VJC's professional faculty. If you've never improvised, that's no problem. There are opportunities for all including classical musicians intrigued by jazz's structure and improvisational opportunities.

Sessions are 10 weeks long (except for Youth Jazz which is 8 weeks and will begin on October 2nd) The classes will culminate during a full day of performances on December 8th at the Jazz Center Performance Space during the Cotton Mill Hill Open House.

Schedule for VJC's Fall Education Opportunities: 2018

11:00 - 12:30 Samba Troupe - Julian Gerstin and Ron Kelley, instructors. Alternate Sundays through 12/16. First class meets 9/23/18
2:30 - 4:00 PM: Jazz Guitar Ensemble - Draa Hobbs, instructor.
First class meets 9/23/18.

5:15 - 6:45 PM Blue Note Ensemble - Claire Arenius, instructor.
First class meets 9/17/18.

3:45 - 5:00 Youth Jazz Ensemble - Eugene Uman, instructor. First class meets 10/2/18.
5:15 - 6:45 Uke Jazz Ensemble (At VJC) - Ben Carr, instructor First class meets 9/18/18.
5:30 - 7:15 Soubrette Choir Meets at 62 Spruce Street, Brattleboro Anna Patton, instructor. First class meets 9/11/18/

4:15 - 5:45 Latin Jazz Ensemble - Julian Gerstin and Eugene Uman, Instructors. First class meets 9/19/18.
6:00 - 7:30 - VJC Sextet (full) Rob Freeberg, director

The Vermont Jazz Center is an internationally recognized institution that provides jazz education, programming and outreach. Currently in its 40th year, it was founded in 1974 by the legendary guitarist, Attila Zoller and is now run by pianist, Eugene Uman.

The VJC features a summer jazz workshop, a monthly concert series, Wednesday night jam sessions, and frequent collaborations with area schools, arts organizations and businesses.

Mission: The Vermont Jazz Center is dedicated to creating and preserving jazz through the presentation of workshops, concerts, and instruction to a broad constituency of artists, students, and the general public.

Keep in touch
Upcoming Concerts
VJC's Annual Big Band Gala: A Tribute to Artie Shaw
Fri. December 7th, 8:00 PM
Helen Sung: "Sung with Words"
January 19th, 8:00 PM
Sullivan Fortner Trio
February 9th, 8:00 PM
Join Our Mailing List
For Email Marketing you can trust
Handicap Accessible
Concerts at the VJC are handicap accessible.

SEATING: For wheelchair or other handicapped seating at concerts, please call in advance, 802-254-9088 or 802-579-5515.

PARKING AND ENTRANCE: The Cotton Mill’s handicapped entrance is on the south side (on your right as you enter the parking lot). There is one van-accessible parking spot next to this entrance. Other handicapped spots are located along the west side of the building (facing you as you enter the parking lot. There is no handicapped entrance or elevator on this side.

ELEVATOR: To get to VJC on the second floor, you’ll need to use the freight elevator. At the handicapped entrance, pass the flight of stairs and go through the door on your left, into the building's loading area. The elevator is at the far end of the loading area. If you have someone to assist you, make sure they open and close both the elevator’s gate and main door, both from inside (to run it) and when you exit (so other people can use it). If you need assistance with the elevator, call us. We appreciate a call ahead of time but you can also call when you arrive, and we’ll send someone right down. 802-254-9088 or 802-579-5515.

RESTROOMS: Accessible restrooms are located at the far end of the building. As you exit our concert space take a left, and at the end of the hall take a right. They’re pretty far. Leave yourself time.

Please call to discuss arrangements to facilitate your enjoyment of this concert: (802) 254 9088, ext. 2.

Site Design © 2018 Vermont Technology Partners, Inc.