UNO JAZZ COMBO-eng – Saulkrasti Jazz Festival


Dr. Darren Pettit,  

saxophone (musical director of UNO Jazz Combo)

Dr. Pete Madsen,  

trombone (head of the UNO jazz department)

Luke Annis,  


Skye Junginger,  


Chris Brady,  


Jacob Phillips,  


Gabe Windham,  


Fay Porter,  


Music at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO)

The UNO School of Music is one of three academic units within the College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media. With a metropolitan mission of community engagement, music students are highly involved in performance and education throughout the Omaha community. Students at UNO have performed with the Omaha Symphony, Opera Omaha, Omaha Performing Arts, Omaha Community Playhouse and a variety of arts venues throughout the city. Our international touring program has linked to the global community with students visiting Latvia, Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, China, Lithuania, and Mexico— just to name a few! Based in a student-centered curriculum, we offer comprehensive undergraduate programs in music education, music performance, music technology and music entrepreneurship.

Students study on their applied instrument or voice with faculty members who have the expertise to provide students with a strong foundation of musicianship. Small class sizes and team-taught courses give students a lot of personal attention—attention that makes the difference for our students’ academic success. For non-majors, the school is a place for many to continue the enjoyment of music making.
Ensembles are open to both majors and non-majors and can provide non-major students with an outlet for creative expression and a place to make connections with other students. In addition to our numerous ensembles, courses in music appreciation, jazz studies, world music, rock history, and opera are all available for study. Whether you are seeking a degree in music or are interested in participating in a music course or ensemble, the UNO School of Music is an exciting place with many wonderful opportunities!


Jazz at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO)

In addition to hosting the annual UNO Great Plains Jazz Festival, the UNO Jazz Ensemble makes regular appearances at nationally recognized jazz festivals and at state and regional conferences. UNO Jazz Ensembles and Combos have been selected multiple times by nationally competitive recorded audition processes to perform at premier festivals and conferences including the University of North Texas Jazz Festival, the Notre Dame Jazz Festival, the Midwest International Association for Jazz Education conference, and the North Central National Association for Music Education Conference. UNO Jazz Ensembles have toured Europe five times (2003, 2008, 2013, 2016, and 2019) with performances in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Finland. UNO Jazz has also appeared in Asia five times (2010, 2012, 2015, 2017, and 2018) with performances in China, Japan, and South Korea. The UNO Jazz Ensemble has performed with many internationally renowned guest artists including Peter Erskine, Slide Hampton, Eric Marienthal, Jon Faddis, Randy Brecker, Diane Schuur, and many others.


University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Jazz Combo I

UNO Jazz Combo I, under the direction of Dr. Darren Pettit, is a group comprised of the most talented jazz students from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The group is a composer’s workshop and only performs original compositions or arrangements written by members of the ensemble. Jazz combo I has performed in Lithuania, Latvia, China, South Korea, and Japan, and has participated and won composition and improvisation awards at many national jazz festivals including the North Texas State Jazz Festival, the University of Northern Colorado Jazz Festival, the Kansas University Jazz Festival, the International Association of Jazz Educators Regional Conference in Chicago, and the Great Plains Jazz Festival. Jazz Combo I recently won the Omaha Performing Arts Combo Competition for the fourth year in a row, and as a result, they have had private masterclasses with and performed as the opening act for Terence Blanchard, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. The group has also participated in masterclasses and/or performed with Delfeayo Marsalis, Eric Marienthal, Donny McCaslin, David Benoit, Nathan East, Randy Brecker, James Carter, the San Francisco Jazz Collective, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Jon Faddis, Chris Potter, Chip McNeill, Dave Pietro, and Peter Erskine. Currently this group performs several times each semester in the Omaha area.