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Pleasant Hill Invitational Jazz Festival History
The Pleasant Hill Invitational Jazz Festival (PHIJF) began in 1976 simply as a vocal festival. At that time, vocal jazz was still blossoming in the Pacific Northwest and the need of a festival with vocal jazz was becoming a necessity. The PHIJF was introduced not only as a competition but also as an educational experience with participants listening to numerous choirs, clinics and experienced adjudicators interacting with groups after their preliminary performance. During the 70's, it was not a common practice for adjudicators to work directly with the performers. The second year of the PHIJF was the beginning of the instrumental portion of the festival. Since then, the festival has grown into what we know it as today.
The founder of the PHIJF was Jim Steinberger, directing the festival from 1976 - 1985. Mike Wiggins then directed the festival until his death in 1997. Camille Noel took over at that time, until her retirement in 2002. Kris Violette, the current director, then took over as the Festival Director in 2003.
Today, the festival is in its fourth decade. While it began as a small local festival serving full chicken lunches and spaghetti dinners to those who participated, it has grown to serve junior and senior high school students from four states and Canada. Each year 2000 students, along with their teachers, parents and siblings come to Pleasant Hill to attend the annual festival and enjoy a variety of clinics, concerts and listen to the competition of the school bands and choirs. We have had guest artists come from afar to entertain and educate. Some of those guests have been:
Come participate in the Pleasant Hill Jazz Festival. The hospitality of the Pleasant Hill community adds a charming personal touch that no other jazz festival attempts to copy.
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