Michael Shirtz (Composer/Conductor/Pianist)
Michael Shirtz is a jazz musician, composer, conductor, and musiceducator. A native of Marquette, Michigan, this jazz singer and pianist began his musical career while in high school. From leading small house bands for dinner clubs and special events, to leading variations of big bands and jazz combos, and eventually leading and producing popular themed concerts and tribute shows, Michael has reached out to a diverse audience and a unique following that embraces music lovers of all ages. After a five-year break from performing, Shirtz returned to jazz in 2009 and reestablished the Michael Shirtz Quartet, which performs traditional jazz with experimentation in time and tonality, mixed with variations of contemporary and folk styles. As a performer and composer, Shirtz has become a frequent guest artist and clinician.
Peter Eldridge (Solo performance/Master Classes)
This highly acclaimed singer/songwriter is also a founding member of the Grammy award-winning vocal group, New York Voices. Aside from his busy touring schedule, he is also on the Faculty of the esteemed Manhattan School of Music in New York City. His work as both a solo and group artist makes him one of the most versatile performers and educators in the country.
Toxic Audio (A Cappella performances/Master Classes)
This Drama Desk award-winning vocal quintet will knock your socks off with their vocal pyrotechnics. Originally formed at Disneyworld, this unique group brings a diverse range of musical ranges and styles to the table. As musicians, their strong educational backgrounds give them a unique perspective to offer young students as they explore the boundaries of the human voice.
Kostia Efimov (Performance: Solo piano/Piano & vocal duo/Piano & guitar duo – w/Daryl Stuermer/Master Classes)
Kostia is often called “Musical Columbus” by journalists and is always on the way to discovering new worlds for himself and his fans. Kostia blends a wide range of styles into his playing, including classical, jazz and pop. The result: simply breathtaking and simply Kostia. He can also be found playing keyboards for Daryl Stuermer, guitarist for the rock band Genesis, on his solo tours.
Jack Grassel & Jill Jensen (Jazz Duo, Big Band/Master Classes)
This dynamic duo has been a staple in the Milwaukee music scene for decades. Their intimate sound and wide range of styles can suit any venue or occasion. Jack, an Internationally acclaimed and award winning jazz guitarist, clinician and educator, is sought after to provide budding young artists with the skills they’ll need to be successful musicians. Jill can help young performers with their vocal stylings and stage presence. These two are a joy!
Caroline Rubitsky (Owner – Caroline’s Jazz Club, Milwaukee Entrepreneur)
Milwaukee jazz fans love Caroline’s for its laid back yet classy ambience. Both regional and national acts grace the large stage – past performers have included such notables as the Count Basie Band, the Dinah Washington Band, Julie Wood, Manty Ellis, Paul Spencer Band, Sam Kidd, and Adekola. This top nightclub has won the Shepherd Express “Best of Milwaukee” award several times as well as the 2006 WAMI award for “Best Venue.”
Uniquely Sew (Original and pre-fab sewing creations)
Seamstress Trish O’Brien is always prepared to help you create the “perfect outfit.” Whether you are looking for a “copy” or you have a specific pattern in mind, Uniquely Sew is “where imagination meets reality.”