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Department of Music
Phone: (509) 963-1216
Fax: (509) 963-1239

John Moawad Jazz Festival

May 6-7, 2022

The CWU John Mowad Jazz Festival is a non-competitive sharing of music between instrumental jazz ensembles is open to all college, high school and middle school jazz bands.. However groups will be adjudicated (ratings by request) and given clinics. No awards will be made for ensemble performance. Ensembles will be given feedback in clinic form of approximately 20-25 minutes with an adjudicator following each performance. Central’s top jazz ensembles will perform at the end of the day with a guest artist during which outstanding musicians from the day will be recognized. Large ensembles should be comprised of at least 12 members with a maximum of 30 members. Groups smaller than 12 will be considered combos. There will be no combo division for this year's festival, however, combos may enter the festival and be adjudicated.

CWU Jazz is proud to announce Jazz Organist Akiko Tsuruga, 2022 Jazz Festival Guest Artist

Raised in Osaka, Japan, this talented musician began studying the organ at the age of three, at the famed Yamaha Music School. After discovering her passion for jazz very early on in her musical journey, Akiko launched her career immediately after graduating from the Osaka College of Music.While living and playing in Osaka, she had many opportunities to perform with world- renowned jazz musicians from the United States. Meeting Grady Tate, in particular, was a life-changing event for Akiko.

After landing in the mecca for jazz, New York City, it didn’t take long for Akiko to make her mark - It was during these early years that she had the great pleasure of sitting in, playing gigs, and eventually recording with jazz greats such as Frank Wess, Jimmy Cobb, Grady Tate and other top NY musicians. Her reputation ultimately drew attention of Lou Donaldson as he chose her in 2006 as his quartet’s organist.

But it was the meeting of organ legend Dr. Lonnie Smith that proved to have the greatest impact on Akiko’s musical development and career. He became an important mentor to Akiko, and she considers him her greatest influence. She flourished and continued to be a constant draw on the NY jazz scene.

Akiko has ten albums as a leader to her credit both the U.S. and Japan. Her debut album in the U.S., “Sweet and Funky”, was selected as a “Best album of 2007” in DOWNBEAT Magazine. Her albums have constantly placed in the top ten on the National Radio Jazz Chart. Akiko also received “Swing Journal Rising Star Award” (Japan) in 2010, Hot House Magazine (NYC) Best Organist’ in 2017 and the DOWNBEAT Magazine Critics Poll 2020 Rising Star Organ.

Akiko’s newest excitement is a trio project features a jazz celebrity drummer, Jeff Hamilton, and a superb rising guitarist, Graham Dechter, and their first recording, “Equal Time” was released in June 2019. This thrilling trio has been touring around the US and Europe. Akiko continues to be a constant draw on the NY Jazz scene. And she will be joining The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra for their 2023 European Tour.

Just take a listen to this dynamic performer, and I’m sure you will agree with the legendary Dr. Lonnie Smith - “Akiko is here to stay!”

2022 Clinicians



We welcome schools to bring multiple bands if desired. We are able to accommodate middle school, high school, and college groups. If your school is entering multiple ensembles, please complete a separate entry form for each. Due to the nature of the event, there is no need for divisions within the various bands levels and sizes. Groups will be evaluated against a standard, and be given feedback appropriately, regardless of size, age, or experience.

New For 2022

There will be a separate venue for middle school/junior high jazz bands and high school second bands. As the festival has grown, so have the number of younger bands attending. We wish to give them a venue specific to their needs, along with adjudicators experienced in that “level" of jazz education.


A master time schedule and other information will be sent to all ensemble directors in mid April. Groups will be scheduled according to date of entry, performance time preference, and distance from the festival site. There is a limit on the number of applicants that can be accepted. The more quickly the entry is sent, the better.


Each group will be limited to 25 minutes for warm-up in an assigned rehearsal room. This room will contain chairs, stands and a piano but no other equipment.


The festival will provide the equipment listed below at each performance site:

  • PA System with 3 solo mics, piano mic, bass direct to PA
  • Acoustic Piano
  • Bass Amp
  • Guitar Amp
  • Music Stands, Chairs
  • Drum Set (NO cymbals)
    ***This means you will need to bring your own cymbals and stands***


During your group's performance, one adjudicator will write comments and another will provide a clinic following your performance in another room. Through a rotation of either writing or providing clinics, you and your students will get direct, constructive feedback concerning your performance.


Each group will perform two or more selections within the 25-minute time limit. It is strongly suggested that all music be in the jazz style, and include a jazz ballad.


Each group will be provided a recording of your performance.

Location, Location, Location!

The will take place in the Jerilyn S. McIntyre Music Building. Completed in 2004, this facility boasts pristine acoustics, state-of-the-art recording and first-class surroundings.

Check in & Time Estimates

Registration/check in on the days of the festival is in the Jerilyn S. McIntyre Music Building rotunda. The festival will start at approximately 8:30am and end at approximately 6:00 PM each day.


Outstanding musicians will be recognized and given certificates.


For more information, contact the Music Department at 509-963-1216, or email