MCA hosts jazz combo performances Feb. 28, March 21


The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) jazz combos will present two community concerts, free and open to the public, on Wednesday, February 28, at 6 p.m., at MCA’s Academy Theatre at the Valéncia Arts Center, 1164 West 10th Street; and on Wednesday, March 21, at 5:30 p.m., at Wellington’s Pub & Grill, 1429 West Service Drive.

The jazz combo program, which began in September 2012 under the direction of Dave Gudmastad, has grown quickly. Each jazz combo rehearses an hour each week from September through March, helping students learn the art of jazz in a small ensemble setting. Rehearsal sessions provide basic instruction in jazz-related rhythm, tone, style, concept, listening skills, and improvisation. A new session starts each September and January for young musicians interested in joining a combo.

MCA is home to three jazz combos comprised of students age 11-17 from the Winona area:

Basie Combo — Sarah Beguin, Andrew Behling, Hannah Biesanz, Jake Callahan, Max Derbyshire, Noah Ehlenfeldt, Hannah Graff, Viva Graff, Garet Grant, Zachary Schmitt, Stephen Shaw, Courtney Vaughn, Connor Walechka, and Austin Weatherhead.

Dizzy Combo — Hailey Biesanz, Aidan Carlson, Joe Costello, Katelyn Dennis, Daniel Florness, Alison French, Joella Goyette, Madeline Kohner, Marissa Lindaman, Nicholas Walechka, Sam Wantock, and Will Wisniewski.

Duke Combo — Isaac Allred, Olivia Becker, Sarah Beguin, Andrew Behling, Hailey Biesanz, Hannah Biesanz, Jake Callahan, Aidan Carlson, Aaron Chernega, Joe Costello, Katelyn Dennis, Max Derbysire, Noah Ehlenfeldt, Anna Florness, Daniel Florness, Alison French, Joella Goyette, Hannah Graff, Viva Graff, Garet Grant, Madeline Kohner, Rachel Lepper, Miranda Lindaman, Adam Martin, Grant Matthees, Alexander Slaggie, Nathaniel Sternber, Courtney Vaughn, Connor Walechka, Nicholas Walechka, Sam Wantock, Will Wisniewski, and Andrew Wooden.

MCA Music Division programs are made possible by the Hiawatha Education Foundation and the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. MCA is an affiliate program of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota that also offers private music lessons and a variety of music classes. For more information, visit, email, or call 507-453-5500.

About Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota awakens, nurtures, and empowers learners to ethical lives of leadership and service. At Saint Mary’s, students find in every classroom — whether in person or online — a relationship-driven, person-centered education. Through intense inquiry, students discover the truths in the world and the character within. Founded in 1912 and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota enrolls 5,700 students at its residential undergraduate college in Winona and its Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs, based in Minneapolis but extending worldwide. Saint Mary’s offers respected and affordable programs in a variety of areas leading to bachelor’s, bachelor’s completion, master’s, certificate, specialist, and doctoral degrees. Learn more at


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