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 early 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.

2015-2016 Dakota Combo

Dakota Combo, 10th Edition

Jordan Anderson, piano (Nova Classical Academy, St Paul, grade 12). Jordan is one of two students returning from last year’s Combo. He’s studied piano for nine years playing for 9 years, and currently plays in MYJB Jazz I (Minnesota Youth Jazz Band) and in several bands outside of school, including in a weekly duo (Sundays) at Five Watt Coffee in south Minneapolis.





Adam Astrup, guitar (Rocori High School, Cold Spring, MN, grade 11). Also returning from last year’s Combo,  Adam has been playing guitar for about 10 years, currently studying with Zacc Harris. He’s also played in the Minnesota All-State Jazz Band, led his own quartet for a Jazz Central gig and in a quartet led by Jordan Anderson.  Adam also plays in a rock band called The Graduates and has subbed for Zacc Harris in his trio.





Alma Engebretson, bass and cello (Washburn High School, grade 12). Alma has played bass for eight years. In addition to the Dakota Combo, she plays in the MYJB I, and plays cello in the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony orchestra. This fall she is also conducting the pit orchestra for Washburn’s school musical, and is playing in the Will Schmid New Quintet.





Yonci Jameson, bass clarinet (Southwest High School, grade 12). Yonci has been playing jazz on bass clarinet for about 3 years, but she has played clarinet for about 8 years. She’s in a jazz combo at school (Yonci and the Footprints) that performed on the Youth Stage of the 2015 Twin Cities Jazz Festival. Yonci also plays in the Southwest Wind Ensemble and performs professional  West African drumming as well.





Gerhardt Robinson, saxophones (Southwest High School, grade 12). Gerhardt has been playing saxophone since 4th grade. Currently he plays with the Southwest jazz band and combo, MYJB I, and through Post Secondary Options (PSEO), he also plays with the University of Minnesota Jazz Band I, along with “assorted combos with friends in the area.”





Sam Stroup, drums (South High School, grade 12). Sam has played drums for about 5 years. In school, he plays in the South High big band and combo, as well as the Wind Ensemble. With recent South High (and Dakota Combo) graduate Charlie Lincoln, he plays in a group called Yardang! and has played drums and electronics in the Charlie Lincoln Group.  He also plays in a yet-unnamed quartet with Ivan Cunningham, George Adzick and Nicholas Christenson.





Nick Zaczkowski, alto saxophone (Wayzata High School, grade 11). Nick has played sax for 5 years. Currently he participates in the Wayzata Jazz Band, MYJB Jazz I, MMEA All-State Jazz Band, and through PSEO he plays in Jazz I at the University of Minnesota.







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