Media Quotes

"P.Y.J.O. is the future of jazz. It thrills me to see the excitement, the enthusiasm and the high level of musicianship that this band exemplifies. The program is a wonderful service to our community, and a continued testament to the ability of the arts to empower young people. Keep on swinging"

-Darrell Grant- Performer, Composer, and PSU Professor

"Oregon’s answer to the current music education crisis, Portland Youth Jazz Orchestra (of which we are extremely proud!)."

-Seattle's 'all about Jazz' magazine - Bill Royston Former Artistic Director, Portland Jazz Festival

“The Portland Youth Jazz Orchestra…[is] giving young players the outlet to further their talents outside of a traditional school setting.”

-Jazzscene Magazine

"Ben, I wanted to let you know that Noah is doing great at UW(ashington). He has so much confidence performing thanks to you and Michelle. You really changed his life and we are all very grateful."

-Lissa K. - PYJO Parent

"Ben and Michelle, I really can't thank the both of you enough for the leadership and education you are providing. PYJO has been an immensely positive experience for [my son]- for both his musicianship and his sense of belonging as part of a community centered around music."

-Heather I. - PYJO Parent


PYJO Alumni

PYJO Alumni are spread around the world
Alumni -Beyond college with careers in Music include:
-John Storie (Guitar) - Guitarist for Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, Gwen Stefani & Blake Shelton. Also, currently (2017-18) working on a show with actor Keith David performing the music of Nat King Cole. Traveled with Guitar West after college.
-Andrew Oliver (Piano, Trumpet, Cora, Drums)- Based in London, traveling the world with his many bands / established composer
-John Nastos (Saxophones, Flute, Clarinet)- very active in Portland's music scene with Mel Brown etc as a musician and in web/app building/marketing. Created the metronome app: "Metronomics"
-Alex 'Popcorn' Milsted (Saxophones/Keyboards)- Band-leader, active musician in the PDX funk scene.
-Ben Turner (Organ/Piano) Active Freelance musician & Radio DJ at KMHD 89.1 Jazz
-Kyle Molitor (Trombone) Toured with Bootsy Collins. Active in PDX's funk music scene
-Michelle Christiansen Beaumont (Saxophone) - Toured with March Fourth Marching Band & Lives in New Orleans as an active musician
-Ben Darwish (Piano) - Bandleader/composer/event promoter
-Tim Archer - Settled into a career as a studio bass player/performer in Los Angles after attending USC
-Ben Kelly (Trumpet) - Music educator in Texas after finishing degree at U. North Texas (and sitting in the One O’Clock band)
-Alex Rodriguez (Trombone) Finished PhD in ethnomusicology at UCLA with dissertation research on jazz in Chile. Also a freelance contributor to NPR Music's jazz blog, 'A Blog Supreme' & is currently on faculty in the music dept. at Reed College
-Eric Allen (Trumpet, Cello) - A successful composer, arranger, bandleader, & cellist
-Bryan Smith (Alto Sax)- Finished his masters in music at U of Washington & is currently teaching PYJO Pops! & working as a freelance musician
-Tristan Weitkamp (Saxophopnes) - Has spent time in South Africa playing & recording music. A freelance player & a substitute band teacher in the Portland area.
-Corey Foster (Drums) - A graduate of Berklee School of Music, now an active teacher & freelance musician in Portland. A teacher of the PYJO rhythm band
-Ryan DeHaven (Saxophone, Clarinet, Piano, Guitar) - Working on his finishing a degree in music/studio engineering at PSU after attending U of Denver. A teacher for the PYJO rhythm band.

Active Freelance Musicians:

GianCarlo Viviano (Trumpet), Johny Guererro (drums), Nick Sweet (Trombone), Reid Neuman (Tenor Sax), Haley Freedlund (Trombone), Matt Tabor (Piano), Ryan Cheng (Alto Sax), Mitch Wilson (drums), Brandon Tabbal (Trombone), Steve O’Neill (Alto Sax) -finished music degree at PSU working thru medical school, Chris Nakata (Trombone), JJ Kirkpatrick (Trumpet), Michael Galen (Drums) - also professional dancer/instructor (especially break dancing), Alex Koehler (Bass/Piano), Anthony Medici (Guitar), Parker Hall (Drums) -also composing music, Anthony Meade (Trombone), Matt Dunkle (Trumpet, Flute), Kristof Schroeder (Alto Sax/Flute), Enzo Irace (Guitar)

Other Alumni are teaching, working in other careers and still performing when they can. Many are no longer playing, but are educated audience members supporting art in the communities they live in. Not everyone is meant to take on the music business as a career. Those who study Jazz music (even just for a chapter of their life) putting their hearts, souls, and discipline into the art form will reap many life benefits.

PYJO Alumni have attended

Berklee College of Music, Cornish, Clackamas CC, Eastman School of Music @ U. Indiana, Gonzaga, The Grammy Band, Harvard, Julliard, Lawrence Conservatory, Lewis & Clark College, Manhattan School of Music, Marylhurst, Mt Hood CC, New England Conservatory, The New School, Northern Arizona Univ, Oberlin College Conservatory, Oregon State Univ, Portland State Univ, Reed College, Univ of Denver, Univ of North Texas, Univ of Oregon, Univ Southern California, Univ of Washington, US Army ROTC, Western Oregon Univ, Whitman, Whitworth, William Patterson to name a few.