A quintet of PJCE musicians perform music by the 2024 cohort of Young Jazz Composers! Join us at Alberta Street Pub to hear original music by new composers written with the guidance of professional mentors and performers.

The Young Jazz Composers program is a mentorship and performance opportunity for students to learn the ins and outs of composing for a professional jazz ensemble. Through one-on-one private lessons and professional group feedback, students will gain valuable insight into the idiosyncrasies of composing. By the end of the program, students will be able to understand the basic skills needed to compose a tune, use digital notation software, and correctly notate parts for rhythm section and horns.

The 2024 YJC band features Mary-Sue Tobin on saxophone, Quinn Walker on trumpet, Joe Bagg on piano, Ben Medler on bass, and Tyson Stubelek on drums.


The 2024 Young Jazz Composers:

Perseus Flint (Franklin High School) I’m a jazz nut, and I love to create and/or learn about all kinds things: art, writing, math, science. I signed up for YJC to hone my composition and music notation skills, and to work with a great local musician.

Riley Hoffer (Alliance High School) I started out taking casual piano lessons when I was 7 then began to take music seriously when I picked up the saxophone in middle school. I developed a passion for jazz that strengthened my musical background and helped me discover that I’ll be doing this for the rest of my life. I plan to attend college in the UK studying the music production scene there.

Dale McCullough– I am a retired aquatic ecologist/fishery scientist who worked on Columbia River salmon habitat quality and restoration for Indian tribes of the PNW. Other than fish and wildlife conservation, water quality, and climate change remediation, my current interests include learning jazz on the tenor saxophone, woodworking, gardening, photography, birding, hiking, home remodeling, visiting friends and family (kids and grandkids), and ancestry research. My jazz teacher suggested I try jazz composition to further my ability to understand the jazz language and improv capability. This has proven to be a useful and enjoyable music activity–one that I might continue to add to my daily routine.

Henry Rusak- My name is Henry and I am a graduate of Santa Clara University. While attending university I studied music and digital filmmaking. I worked as a composer for a few short films and documentaries. Now in Portland I am playing with my new band “Cork” I signed up for YJC to work with a mentor and have leadership as a aspiring musician/composer.

Jonathan Valentine (Chemeketa Community College) I went to UO jazz school 12 years ago and graduated in piano. I was at school with such modern-day luminaries as Ben Rice, Water Tower Bucket Boys, Thomas J Peters, Tory Newhart, and John Nastos; also I went to Mel Brown jazz camp with Nicole Glover. Clearly I am as great as them all in the manner of the ugly duckling, Rudolph the RNR, and the Little Train that Could. My middle school jazz band drew me to get a music education. I find a new encouragement in the PJCE and its invitation to join this program. Big horn bands will always guide me.

Eucaly Waltner (Lakeridge Middle School) I am a middle school musician and I play the flute, piano, and violin. I signed up for YJC because I wanted to learn more about jazz compositions. By participating in this program, I hope to take a step further in the field of jazz composing.

Tyler Waltner (Lakeridge High School)- I started out playing classical piano and saxophone when I was young and in high school fell in love with jazz! I have been actively performing around the Portland area in various settings and love to spread the joy and beauty of music. YJC has offered me the opportunity to study how this music that I love so much is built from the ground up and gave me an opportunity to view jazz through an different lens.


The 2024 mentors are Clay Giberson, Galen Clark, Kerry Politzer, Michelle Medler, Cyrus Nabipoor, Darrell Grant, Mark Orton, and Mark Powers.