Musician of the Year Award
In the year 2000, the West Michigan Jazz Society began honoring our outstanding local musicians beginning in the year 2000, by electing a "Musician of the Year." Our honorees thus far include:
2019 - Fred Knapp - Drums
2018 - Bob Nixon - Sax, Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon
2017 - Robin Connell - Piano
2016 - Terry Lower - Piano
2015 - Mike Lutley - Saxes, Flute, and Clarinet
2014 - Max Colley III - Trumpet & Drums
2013 - Randy Marsh - Drums
2012 - Mark Kahny - Piano and Vocals
2011 - Edye Evans Hyde - Vocal Stylist
2010 - John Shea - Piano
2009 - Dick Reynolds - Piano
2008 - Steve Talaga - Piano
2007 - Tom Hagen - Piano, Guitar, Clarinet
2006 - Mary Rademacher - Vocal Stylist
2005 - Elgin Vines - Bass
2004 - Tim Froncek - Percussion
2003 - Ray Gill - Tenor Sax
2002 - Mel Dalton - Sax
2001 - Paul Keller - String Bass
2000 - Curt Purnell - Sax
Bruce Early Jazz Educators Award
W.M.J.S has a new annual award!
This award will be given in Bruce Early's name to the Jazz Educator of the year by the W.M.J.S. Dr. Bruce Early (1939-1998) was the area's premier educator, band leader, performer, adjudicator, and contractor in the Grand Rapids area as well as the Mid-west. He taught at Aquinas College and organized an annual jazz festival and summer jazz ca
mp besides being a conductor at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. He nurtured young talent and gave them an environment to gain experience to perfect their craft. So this award will continue his legacy as well as give acknowledgment and thanks to each recipient.
Each recipient will not only be selected by their teaching talent but by their support and caring of the direction that our young jazz musician's paths may take. West Michigan has many devoted and talented educators and this will be a way thanking and acknowledgment for their expertise.
On June 2016 the first award was presented to Max Colley II. His dedication, drive, enthusiasm, as well as Northview High School's unparalleled competition record at jazz festivals, has been an inspiration to all who are involved in jazz education and have been jazz enthusiasts for years! Max inspired not only his students but everyone around him. He welcomed other teachers to share their knowledge which in turn gave his students unlimited knowledge and experiences to learn from. Max has retired from teaching but still keeps in touch with many of his "kids" through out the country. He is still sharing his enthusiasm and caring for other peoples lives and accomplishments.