Dakota Combo

Each year offers different opportunities for members of the Dakota Combo, an audition-based group of the region’s top high school jazz musicians. Up to eight musicians are offered scholarships for a year of serious extra-curricular jazz study and performance in partnership with the MacPhail Center for Music.

Past combos have produced their own recordings, received the Mingus Spirit Award at the Charles Mingus High School Competition and Festival in New York, and performed at jazz venues throughout and beyond the Twin Cities.

Open auditions are held each year in September, resulting in new instrumentation and a fresh sound every year. Interested musicians are encouraged to participate in other jazz education opportunities in preparation for future Combo auditions.


Dakota Combo 2018-2019 (13th Edition)

2019 Dakota Combo

Sophia Kickhofel – Alto Sax (10th Grade)
Apple Valley High School
Jorgen Linne – Bass (12th Grade)
Southwest High School
August McKinney – Piano (11th Grade)
Southwest High School School
Carter Pearson – Drums (12th Grade)
St. Paul Conservatory of Performing Arts
Eli Zukor-Zimmermann – Tenor Sax (12th Grade)
Washburn High School

Upcoming Events
  • Sunday, March 31, 2019 – Winter Jazz Festival at Crooners Lounge, 1:30-2:30
  • Saturday, May 4, 2019 – The Black Dog Café
  • Saturday, June 22, 2019 – Twin Cities Jazz Festival at Larry Englund Youth Stage, TBD

Dakota Combo News

Jan 29, 2017

Location: Saint Paul Hotel Ballroom Main Stage

Dakota Combo at Winter Jazz Fest

The Dakota Combo will be playing their first public performance at the Saint Paul Hotel Ballroom Main Stage (350 Market St, St. Paul, MN… Read More »

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