Seventeen Local Students Selected For 2018 Northwest Arkansas Jazz All-Stars Youth Ensemble

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, February 12, 2018 – Seventeen local junior high and high musicians have been chosen to participate in Walton Arts Center’s 2018 Northwest Arkansas Jazz All-Stars Youth Ensemble.

The students, representing 12 schools in Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Oklahoma, earned their spot in the big band jazz ensemble through a series of auditions in January. The ensemble is part of Walton Arts Center’s Jazz Studies Program and includes alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, trumpet, trombone, guitar, piano, bass and drums.

The Northwest Arkansas Jazz All-Stars began swinging in January 2017. Through the program ensemble members will meet weekly for instructional rehearsals over a three-month period during which they will receive one-on-one training from professional jazz musicians and instruction on how to play and improvise in a jazz big band. 

Program instructors include University of Arkansas music professor Rick Salonen, professional guitarist and music instructor Ben Harris, members of the Fayetteville Jazz Collective and Walton Arts Center's visiting artist in residence, Conrad Herwig, internationally acclaimed jazz trombonist and educator

The group will also perform at major regional venues, and they will make a professional recording to document their accomplishments. The program culminates with a concert performance in Walton Arts Center’s Starr Theater on International Jazz Day, April 30, 2018.

2018 NW Arkansas Jazz All-Stars Youth Ensemble

  • Mason Allen (baritone saxophone) and Ben Cloud (guitar), Grove High School (Oklahoma)
  • Lisa Coyle (trumpet) and Carter McKenzie (drums), Prairie Grove High School
  • Aidan Dunn (tenor saxophone) and Dylon Schraub (trombone), Rogers High School
  • Liam O'Dell, (bass) and Connor Hayes (trumpet) Bentonville High School
  • Caleb Foshe (trombone) Derek Salonen, (alto saxophone), Farmington High School
  • Aaron Estep (piano), School of Innovation
  • Tyler Henderson (trumpet), Bentonville West High School
  • Grace Martin   (trumpet), Fayetteville High School
  • Allison  Miller, (trombone bass), Heritage High School
  • Andrew Sweet, (alto saxophone), Arkansas Arts Academy
  • Jon Williams (trombone), Huntsville High School
  • Ryan Yumang, (alto saxophone), Central Junior High School

For more information about this program, visit

Walton Arts Center is Arkansas’ largest and busiest performing arts presenter. Each year more than 195,000 people from Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma and beyond attend more than 400 public events at Walton Arts Center, including performances, rehearsals, community gatherings, receptions, weddings and more. Approximately 45,000 students and teachers participate annually in arts learning programs at Walton Arts Center, and almost 200 volunteers donate 21,000 hours of time each year to its operations. Walton Arts Center presents entertainers and artists from around the world including Broadway musicals, renowned dance companies, international artists, up-and-coming jazz musicians and more. As a non-profit organization, Walton Arts Center enjoys the generous support of public sector funding, corporate sponsorship and private donors, allowing audience members to pay on average only 45% of the cost of programs offered. To learn more about Walton Arts Center, visit