Blue Lake International Jazz Band

The Blue Lake International Jazz Band is comprised of the instrumentation found in a traditional 18 piece jazz big band, with 5 saxes (alto, tenor and bari), 5 trumpets, 5 trombones and rhythm (piano, bass and drums). The group’s repertoire will range from the classic big bands of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Buddy Rich, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis and Woody Herman to more contemporary composers such as Gordon Goodwin, Bob Mintzer, and John Fedchock. 

Each of the groups in the Blue Lake International Exchange Program will visit five to seven towns (hosting communities) in Europe.  Tentative countries for the 2019 International Jazz Band are Germany and France. 

2019 International Jazz Band
Dr. James Sawyer, Music Director

James SawyerDr. James Sawyer holds degrees from VanderCook College of Music, the University of Michigan School of Music and a Doctor of Music Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. An educator and active professional trumpeter, he currently teaches at East Kentwood High School, co-directing the Falcon Marching Band, four concert bands and two jazz ensembles. With nearly 40 years of teaching experience, he has taught at every level of the educational spectrum, including the University of Nebraska-Omaha and Livingstone College in North Carolina.

His professional credits include having performed with many internationally known artists including Bob Hope, The Temptations, The Lawrence Welk All-Stars, The Chi-lites, and The Manhattans.

He is a member of the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra, the Truth in Jazz Orchestra from Muskegon, and the Holland Jazz Orchestra. He serves as VP for Jazz Activities of MSBOA District 10 and is Past-Education Committee Chair for the West Michigan Jazz Society.  The 2016 trip will be Dr. Sawyer’s third tour leading the International Jazz Band.