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The University of South Dakota Jazz Ensembles, directed by C.J. Kocher, D.A., and Darin Wadley, D.M.A., are dedicated to performing a variety of music representing this American art form, from classics by Basie and Ellington to new contemporary jazz works. The bands perform concerts each semester both on campus and on tour within the region. The USD Jazz Ensemble 1, directed by Kocher, has also toured Germany and the Netherlands and has performed at the Elmhurst Jazz Festival in Chicago.

Every year, USD hosts guest jazz artists on campus to work with students and perform with them. Internationally recognized jazz artists have appeared with the USD Jazz Ensembles, such as:

  • Bob Mintzer
  • Matt Wilson
  • Tim Ries
  • John Fedchock
  • Scotty Barnhart
  • Andy Martin
  • Vince DiMartino
  • And others


Membership is open to students by audition during the first week of the fall term. Courses on jazz improvisation are also offered to students.

For questions or more information contact:

Name Department & Office Contact
Christopher Kocher
  • Professor, Saxophone/Jazz
W M Lee Center for Fine Arts 149

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