Composed of approximately 25 middle and high school students, the Lakeland Jazz Impact is an honors youth jazz ensemble bringing together the finest young jazz musicians in Northeast Ohio, and is one of the only groups of its kind in the area. Led by Ed Michaels, it performs on campus, at the Lakeland Jazz Festival, and in recent years has appeared regularly at The Bop Stop at the Music Settlement in Ohio City.
Jazz students in grades 8-12 are encouraged to audition for the Lakeland Jazz Impact.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE: Current middle and high school students, grades 8-12.
WHEN: In a typical fall or spring semester, the Lakeland Jazz Impact rehearses every Wednesday evening from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Because of the pandemic, the Lakeland Jazz Impact meets remotely on a weekly basis to develop a recorded performance.
WHERE: Typically, the jazz impact rehearses in the Fletcher Music Room, C-Building, Room C-1078. Because of the pandemic, all rehearsals and meetings occur online.
REQUIREMENTS: All performers must have sight-reading skills, have had prior ensemble performance experience, and be able to commit to Wednesday afternoon rehearsals and two to four performances during the academic year. Brass and woodwind musicians must own their own instruments. Students should be in good academic standing in their high school or middle school, and, when available, participate in their school's music program.
INSTRUMENTS: The jazz impact welcomes all jazz style instruments including alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, trombone, trumpet, piano, guitar, bass and drums.
The Lakeland Jazz Impact had its beginnings in 1969 under the leadership of Bob Delly, the band director of J.R. Williams in Painesville, with the intention of giving high school musicians from the Lake County region an opportunity to play with talented musicians from other area schools. A crowning achievement of the band was performing with the legendary jazz artist Clark Terry at the inaugural Lakeland Jazz Festival.
In the fall of 1974, Delly handed the baton to Len Orcino, the band director at Lake Catholic High School. Under Orcino's direction, the band frequently appeared in concerts and area jazz festivals, including Cuyahoga Community College, Akron University and The Ohio State University. Two big achievements for the band were performing at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival and recording an album – "Impact Live '77."
Following their success at Notre Dame, Chuck Frank, the music professor at Lakeland Community College, invited the Lakeland Jazz Impact to join the community of performing groups at Lakeland. However, due to financial cutbacks, Jazz Impact became dormant for several years through the mid-80s.
In the spring of 1989, three area jazz musicians – Ernie Krivda, Lee Bush and Ed Michaels, were appointed to teach jazz improvisation classes through a grant from the Fine Arts Association. At the conclusion of the classes, Michaels was encouraged by Chuck Frank to write a proposal to Lakeland in an effort to re-establish the Lakeland Jazz Impact. The proposal was accepted, and Ed Michaels became the third director of the band.
Under Michael's direction, the Lakeland Jazz Impact continues on a strong path. The band plays several concerts at Lakeland each year and participates in the annual Lakeland Jazz Festival. A highlight of the year is the Lakeland Jazz Impact's annual concert at the Cleveland Bop Stop. The band has also played at the Tri-C Jazz Festival, recorded for the Lincoln Center Jazz Competition, and performed at various area high schools. The band's alumni include an impressive list of musicians who have established careers in music education and performance, along with music composition and arranging.
Meet the Director
Over the years, Edward G. Michaels has established himself as a strong voice in the field of music education and jazz saxophone. He is well-known for his leadership in directing the annual Lakeland Community College Jazz Festival (1999-2008); the Lakeland Summer Jazz Camp; and Lakeland's all-star high school jazz ensemble, and Lakeland's Jazz Impact.
Michaels earned his Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Duquesne University, in his native town of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and a Master of Music from Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois, where he studied saxophone with the legendary Dr. Fred Hemke. He studied improvisation with Phil Rizzo, a clinician for the Stan Kenton Jazz Orchestra.
As a tenor saxophonist, Michaels is often heard performing with the top musicians of Northeast Ohio, among them, some of his former students. He has recorded a CD as leader, entitled "Going Beyond" on the Nice Jazz Label. The list of musicians with whom he has performed include Phil Woods, Donald Byrd, Pacquito D'Rivera, Bobby Sanabria and Clarence Clemons. His quartet has played extended engagements at the Century Room of Cleveland's prestigious Ritz-Carlton Hotel, the Grille Room of downtown Cleveland's Embassy Suites Hotel, Cleveland's Fat Fish Blue, and Club Isabella. Whatever the venue, he feels a strong commitment to promoting jazz and American music; and this can especially be seen in his love for both teaching and playing.
Michaels is also a full-time faculty member of the Willoughby-Eastlake School District where he teaches instrumental music, focusing especially on the district‘s beginning band program. Among his latest accomplishments in music education was receiving an honorarium and publication from the Cleveland Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for his music appreciation lesson plan, entitled "Timbre: Identifying the Tone Color of the Saxophone Using Pop/Rock Music Examples." He was also instrumental in helping his school district receive a grant from the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, which provided new percussion instruments for his Willowick Middle School students.