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Welcome to Jazz Up!


Summer Combo Intensive
June 17-22, 2024
Elgin Community College, Elgin, IL

Preparing the next generation in Jazz for the collegiate and professional world. 

Auditions for the 2024 Jazz Up program are now open!

Video Soundtrack: 

Matthew Hufford, trumpet

Michael Shebar, alto saxophone

Carlton Courtois, trombone

Luke Vodopic, piano

Christial Freehill, bass

Matthew Swolsky, drums

Recorded June 2023 at the final

Jazz Up! concert


Learn More About
Jazz Up

  Jazz Up is a nonprofit 501-c3 organization that offers jazz students a platform to study improvisation, gain experience playing in small combo settings, and obtain insight into navigating collegiate and professional worlds.

Jazz Up's philosophy is to use material the students already know to develop improvisation skills further and realize their creative potential, with a focus on relationship-building, community, and communication techniques.


  Every summer, our world-class faculty devises a wide range of activities, masterclasses, lessons, rehearsals, career planning sessions, public concerts, recording sessions, and industry discussions for students at all levels. Our activities and offerings are fun, challenging, and accepting of everyone’s individual abilities. Above all, we are a Jazz Day Camp dedicated to promoting the importance of community, ensuring everyone has the opportunity to grow and discover their voice in a positive, nurturing environment. 

 Program Director Sharel Cassity, a nationally renowned jazz artist, founded Jazz Up in 2021 after observing that most high school jazz programs with large jazz ensembles--lack focus on improvisation, jazz theory, blues, language, and rhythm. Since these are the most important skills an aspiring jazz artist can have, students gain a "step up" to earn scholarships, succeed in the collegiate world, and feel confident improvising. 


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Our students arrive eager for opportunities to workshop their ideas, develop their craft, work directly with top artists and educators of Chicago, and connect with other like-minded students. In addition, students will simultaneously sharpen critical life skills that traverse any field, such as: 

  • Communication skills

  • Information processing

  • Working with others/ collaboration

  • Leadership skills

  • Critical thinking skills

  • Memory building techniques

  • Self-confidence

  • American history through a Jazz timeline

  • Community building ethos

  • Creativity 

  • Operating DAW systems and recording techniques

  • Career planning strategies


Jazz Up gives students a "step up" so they can be fully prepared to embark on a future in music while having a safe space to develop their unique identity and voice.


 We hope to see you this summer! 

The Program at Jazz Up

Endless Activities 

Rehearsals and Classes

Combo rehearsals at Jazz Up encourage campers to get out of their comfort zones, and in courses like jazz theory, ear training, and rhythm, they learn to embrace new challenges.  Our staff ensures campers enjoy every moment and keeps them engaged at our friendly Jazz Summer Camp. For more information about what we offer, please get in touch.

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Each week will contain multiple masterclasses by various nationally-renowned artists. Whether a visit from a top call artist from Chicago, New York, or a Facetime call to nearly any known musician in jazz, students will come home with new knowledge and skills. 

Recordings and Performances

Our amazing space is an integral part of life at Jazz Up. The Jazz Place can transform into a full recording studio, where students have the opportunity to record, often for the first time.  In addition, campers learn about mics, mic placement, acoustics, recording techniques, DAW systems, and recording interfaces. 


Apply Here

Dates: June 17-22, 2024

Time: 10 am-5 pm daily

Fee: $300 

Place: Elgin Community College, Elgin, IL

Deposit: $50

Final Concert: Sat., June 22nd, 12:30 pm

Audition requirements:

Auditions are solely for ensemble placement; all applicants are guaranteed admission regardless of level. 

Prepare the following:

1. A medium or up-tempo swing standard with melody and two choruses solo

2. A blues

3. A funky or straight 8th piece

Please record these items and create either an audio file (Soundcloud or other) or a private YouTube video. After you have completed that, submit them here with a completed form or email to

Apply today!

Upload File

Thanks for submitting!

This form no longer accepts submissions after June 1, 2024. Please contact for information about enrollment availability.


Contact Us


Jazz Up Institute

c/o Sharel Cassity- Johnson

P.O. Box 131

Gilberts, IL 60136



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