About the King School Jazz Music Program

Working with a generous grant from the Oregon Community Foundation, the Pacific Crest Sinfonietta operates a music program at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School.

Entering its third year, the program is offered on an after-school basis in cooperation with the SUN School at Martin Luther King School.

Beginning band practice is held after school and directly preceding AMP’s rehearsal in the same space, providing a practice and incubation space for the more advanced band. Beginning in September of 2016, classes are offered every day with beginners coming in on Tuesdays and Thursdays; returning students play on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.

The after-school music class seeks to establish a permanent presence of conservatory style music education in North Portland, the most racially, ethnically and culturally diverse part of Portland, Oregon. Due to reduced state funding for schools, many in this area have lost access to music education and other forms of art. King School had been without an instructional music program for 30 years. The partnership between the Pacific Crest Sinfonietta and King School ensures that a highly regarded music education will have a permanent place within this underserved community.

Instructors include Devin Phillips, Thomas Barber, Peter Piazza, Joby Tijerina and Dan Brewster. Other professional musicians come in to tutor students on specific instruments.

2017 Instructors

Thomas Barber
thomasbarberhas been active as both a trumpeter and composer since 2004. As a composer, he has written scores for over twenty independent films and tv shows, two feature documentaries, and the 10-part television series Rip City Stories about the Portland. He has performed with many national and local artists including Paul Simon, Wynton Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, and Esperanza Spalding. This is his third year at King School.

Barra Brown
barrabrownA truly eclectic musician, Barra Brown studied classical flute performance at Lewis & Clark College and drums with the Alan Jones Academy of Music. Barra also tours the United States with several indie-folk groups and regularly performs in Portland. His instrumental hip hop/contemporary jazz inspired band, The Wishermen, just released their first album. This is Barra’s first year at King but brings with him years of teaching experience.

Devin Philips
devinphillipsEric Bartels of the Portland Tribune described Devin Philips as someone who could take a complex music structure, like jazz, and show others how it can be simplified. Devin moved to Portland after Hurricane Katrina devastated his hometown of New Orleans. While here, he produced his first album, Wade in the Water, which earned a spot on the top 50 Jazz Week Album chart. Devin is a 2015 Inductee to the Jazz Society of Oregon Hall of Fame. This is his third year at King.

Peter Piazza
peterpiazzais a tenured violinist with the Portland Opera Orchestra. He is also an accomplished trombonist and horn player, composer, and a 35 year veteran of the Portland jazz/funk/latin salsa/classical scenes. His CD, Gut Feelings, was released in 2008. This is Peter’s third year at King.

Joby Tijerina
28, is an active trumpet player and music educator in the Pacific NorthWest. Based in Portland, OR. A true trumpeter, Joby’s commitment to the horn has allowed music to be shared with many legendary artists in several styles of music including jazz, classical, reggae, funk and soul in many parts of the US. Joby relocated to Portland in 2013 to study Thara Memory and the wealth of knowledge he has to offer. A lifetime student of the trumpet and the teachings of Professor William Butler Fielder, it is crucial we keep the knowledge flowing.  Going beyond the music  and education business, is the drive to discover and share true values of the music are to be a part of community; giving back what we know and learn and uniting people from all cultures to create music.

Dan Brewster
Dan began his musical education the summer of 4th grade, continued under Mr.Robert Kerns at Cleveland High, Mr.Larry McVey at Mt.Hood Community College, professionally with Pleasure as a recording artist, has either performed, arranged for, or done both with Natalie Cole, the Manhattan Transfer, Fred Wesley, Terrell Stafford, Bennie Maupin, Esperanza Spalding, Thara Memory, and many others.