Attended the New School of Music in New York City on a full scholarship, but he dropped out after three semesters. “I kind of got busy playing a little bit and lost interest in school for a while. I did a lot of touring in Europe with a dance company, which was pretty fun because I was the only musician, so they’d be rehearsing all day, and I’d be riding a scooter around Italy.” He got his education back on track in 2001 when the Juilliard School started a tuition-free jazz studies program. He was one of only four trumpeters admitted into the prestigious program.
After graduation, he joined the Commodores, the Navy’s premier jazz ensemble, based in Washington D.C. He played solo trumpet in the big band and occasionally played taps for funerals at Arlington National Cemetery. He went on to perform with major artists including Norah Jones, Wynton Marsalis and Wycliffe Gordon.
Justin currently teaches trumpet at Morningside College, where he also has a private studio and offers lessons to students in junior high and high school. Another thing he’s doing is working with Ron and Gia Emory to establish a jazz program at the Sioux City Conservatory of Music.
Dr. Andrew Janak is an active saxophonist/composer/arranger/educator currently based out of Lincoln, NE after previously spending several years in Chicago, IL.
Andrew has shared the stage with jazz greats Victor Lewis, Donny McCaslin, Randy Brecker, Ingrid Jeff Hamilton, Phil Woods and Jimmy Heath. He has also worked with various jazz/commercial groups around the Midwest such as the Nebraska Jazz Orchestra, Bob Lark’s Alumni Band Band, Tom Matta Big Band and Andrew Janak and Wind Armada, a progressive jazz group specializing in original music. He also has performed/recorded with national acts such as the Temptations, Ben Folds, Aloe Blacc, Johnny Mathis, Michael Feinstein and Justin Townes Earle. As a classical saxophonist Andrew studied with renowned performer/pedagogue Dr. Paul Haar and performed with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Wind Ensemble, Omaha Symphony, Lincoln Symphony, Lincoln Municipal Band, and various chamber groups.
Also a prolific composer, some of Andrew’s compositions have been performed/recorded by groups around the United States including the UNL Jazz Orchestra with Victor Lewis, DePaul Jazz Ensemble with Randy Brecker, Bob Lark's Alumni Big Band and the Nebraska Jazz Orchestra. He recently premiered his suite for tenor saxophone and mixed chamber jazz ensemble, “Midwestern Portrait,” in spring of 2018, in which Andrew was the featured soloist.
Dr. Janak is also an active scholar with research interests in jazz composition, jazz saxophone and jazz improvisation pedagogy. He has presented at the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers (ISJAC) Symposium, Midwest Music Research Collective (MMRC) Conference and Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conference. Andrew graduated with a bachelors degree in music education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a masters of music in jazz composition from DePaul University, and a DMA in jazz studies/composition from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His debut album Borrowed Time was released in June 2017.Mitch Towne,
Mitch Towne is a Grammy-nominated keyboardist and touring musician, and is the "go-to" organist in the Midwest. His ability to move seamlessly between diverse styles has made him a sought-after sideman with artists as varied as jazz and soul artist and Grammy-winning producer Terrace Martin, pop superstar Aloe Blacc, jazz heavyweights Ryan Kisor, Dave Stryker, Adam Larson, and Marcus Lewis, blues artists Eric Gales and Ben Poole, and Tower of Power drummer Ron E. Beck. In 2015, Towne played organ on the track “Push” for the album “Velvet Portraits” by Terrace Martin, which was nominated for a 2016 Grammy for “Best R&B” album. David Hawkins
An Omaha native, David is an alumni of Burke High School and UNO. He currently performs in jazz, pop, and R&B groups throughout the midwest.