Summer Workshops: June 26, July 10 & 24, August 14 & 28 at Common Ground

IMG_32722019 OMJ Workshop, Jam and Showcase 

Summer Group Jazz Lessons

4-6pm, Wednesdays at Common Ground

 June 26, July 10 & 24, August 14 & 28


2019 Theme: Learning to Improvise While Learning a song


June 26:

Educator: Dan Wallach  (saxophone/ Edgewood Professor)

Lesson: Diggin’ into the Blues


July 10 -

Educator:  Chance Stine (saxophone /music educator)

Song of the Day: All the Things You Are


July 24 -

Educator:  Johannes Wallmann (piano/ UW Professor)

Song of the Day: The Preacher


August 14 –

Educator:  Lynnette Margulies (vocal/vocal& instrumental improv.)

Song of the Day: locking in with your improvisation


August 28 -

Educator: Rick Flowers  (drummer/multi-instrumentalist)

Theme of the Day: Getting it to groove



WORKSHOP 4:00 - 6:00pm

What to expect in each session: (upstairs room at Common Ground)

  • Warm-ups: a variety of long tones, scales, arpeggios, call & response, maybe listen to a featured recording, discussion and ear training with instruments and/or voice
  • Learning the melody and harmony of selected tune
  • “hands on” playing/learning to improvise in the jazz experience 
  • learning from well seasoned professional jazz musicians and educators

5:45 – 6PM  Transition to main level – place dinner orders


6-7 PM Showcaseperformance of featured song ~(10-15 song with all participants soloing) and then showcase students that want to perform solos, duos, and trio pieces. While everyone enjoys CG  Dinner together with jazz friends (hang out with your friends and eat a dinner provided by Common Ground included in the session fee)


6-9PM SHOWCASE & JAM– FREE & open to all

in Main room at Common Ground (There is no chargefor the jam– open to all and no need to register ahead of time, come for 30 minutes or the whole session, bring the whole family or come alone—we need an audience to buy food and drink to make this a successful event)

~ 6-6:15 short set with the workshop participants

~ 6:15- 7 Showcase students – solos, duos, trios

~ 7-9PM Open jam (with sign up sheet)


Summer Group Jazz Lessons

Located at the upper room at Common Ground Middleton

$25 feefor the Group Jazz Lesson & Dinner with Jazz friends.

Price includes instruction & dinner.

This will be a safe and fun atmosphere to learn more about jazz and improvising. If $25 fee is more than you can afford, PLEASE ask for sliding scale price and/or full scholarship.

(text: laurie at 608-332-1408)


Pay in advance (before June 26) and get a deal

5 lessons for $105

4 lessons $85

3 lessons  $65

2 lessons $45


JUNE 12th, Wednesday 6-9pm OMJ Showcase & Jam features Beloit, Middleton & Sun Prairie Essentially Ellington Combos

This post will feature the Sun Prairie Combo lead by Oliver Gomez IMG_4400


Chai Devlin- Trombone

Chai Devlin plays trombone and has been playing since 6th grade. He is from Sun Prairie and goes to the Sun Prairie High School. He has been out to New York twice for the Essentially Ellington festival at Lincoln Center and has played with the high school wind ensemble at Carnegie Hall. He plans on keeping music in his life always and wants to go to school for audio recording technology.


Kallan Engleson- Piano

Kallan Engleson is a jazz and classical pianist based out of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Coming from a musical family, she found jumping into the musical world very natural and was encouraged heavily by her parents to pursue music. Also finding joy from singing, she can often be found singing for groups around Wisconsin. Kallan is also a very talented percussionist and currently plays for the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Sun Prairie High School Wind Ensemble.


Pierre Tan- Tenor Saxophone

Starting on alto saxophone in 6th grade, Pierre Tan has found a love for jazz starting at an early age. Drawing inspiration from Lester Young, Sonny Rollins, and Benny Golson, he is no stranger to the soulful, dirty sound that makes any and every audience hoot and holler. Pierre is unsure about his major as of now but looks to study music in some form in the future. Pierre also excels in a variety of instruments such as both alto and bari saxophone, recorder, piano, and ukulele.


Oliver Gomez- Bass

Based out of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin and attending Sun Prairie High School, Oliver Gomez has been playing bass since 4th grade. After being encouraged to pick up electric bass for his school’s jazz band, he found a love for bass and jazz overall. In later years, he later moved on to primarily focusing on upright bass due to the greater satisfaction that he received from playing it. Oliver currently plays bass for the Sun Prairie Jazz Ensemble 1 with whom he has attended the national “Essentially Ellington Festival” with for the past two years. He looks to major in Jazz Studies and hopes to do so at Michigan State University in the fall of 2020.


Samwise Baker- Drums

Samwise Baker plays trombone in the SPHS wind ensemble and drum set in Jazz. He has gone to the Essentially Ellington festival in New York for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. He has been accepted to Berklee for film composition and is currently figuring out how he’s going to pay for his education.


Isthmus Jazz Festival & OMJ Showcase/Jam - June 12, 6-9pm at Common Ground

As part of the week long Isthmus Jazz Festival the Essentially Ellington Combos of Sun Prairie HS and Middleton HS will perform a showcase concert on June 12 6-8pm and will lead a student jam for all middle and high school students 8-9pm

May 22 - Wednesday, 6:30-9pm OMJ Jam at Common Ground

Listen, play, hang-- jazz night at Common Ground-- Good Friends, Good food, good drinks even on a Wednesday. Join us.  Houseband: Tony Barba- sax, Dave Stoler - piano, Chris Sandoval - drums, Laurie Lang - bass

OMJ Jam and Showcase - cancelled for May 8th -- we will resume May 22

On Sunday, May 5th you can attend the Madison Jazz Jam from 4-7pm and work out your improvisation there that week.


April 24, (Wed) 6:30-9pm OMJ at Common Ground - Godfriaux (p), Hoffman (ts), Huwe (d), Lang (b) houseband & featuring the the NYC bound MHS and SPHS Students

This will be a great session with a houseband that listens and can really compliment these young players who are headed to the Jam sessions in NYC with the Lincoln Center Jazz Band Musicians in early May. Join in the fun or join in supporting us.

we'll focus on songs from the EE list image1

April 10 (Wed.) OMJ at Common Ground 6:30-9pm - Wallach (as), Koehler (b), Banik (p), Normington (d) houseband

MHS and SPHS are both preparing for the NYC 2019 Competition at Essentially Ellington in May so be ready with the tunes listed but blues are always good in any key. Please join us for a great session on Wednesday, April 10th lead by Professor Dan Wallach on alto, Steve Banik on keys, Lucas Koehler on bass and Doug Normington on drums.

March 27, OMJ 6:30-9pm @ Common Ground; houseband:Godfriaux (p), Hoffman(s), Huwe (d) and Lang(b)

Don't miss a totally grooving rhythm section with rhythmic stylings of Stan Godfriaux on piano, Jim Groovy Huwe on drums and Laurie Lang on bass top if off with the Breaker like Ken Hoffman on tenor sax. Hoping to see the Sun Prairie and MHS Ellington students and others wanting "in" on a great session.

March 13, Wed. 6:30 -9pm - Wallach Host

On March 13 6:30-9pm at Common Ground Middleton- Jam host will be Professor Dan Wallach - sax, and his quartet: Steve Banik -keys, Lucas Koehler -bass, Matt Allen - drums

Looking for all players but encouraging Sun Prairie and Middleton HS Essentially Ellington players to come and jam. Also bring your family and friends to support you!

here are a few photos from the last session.

Wednesday, Feb. 27, 6:30-9pm OMJ @ Common Ground Middleton- with houseband: Hoffman, Erickson, Flowers and Lang + Essentially Ellington NYC bound players

Middleton High School and Sun Prairie HS top jazz bands are heading to NYC being 2 of 15 bands chosen in the US to compete in the Essentially Ellington Finals at Carnegie Hall.

Please join us as we accompany these fine young players and other community members developing their "improv chops"

All songs from the real book, any 12 bar blues-- let's have some fun music time together!