Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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Graduate Assistant Michael Kennedy Jr.
Michael Kennedy Jr . grew up in the Western suburbs of Chicago and has been around music his entire life. At the age of nine he got his first saxophone and quickly became enamored with it. During his sophomore year of high school he decided he wanted to pursue a career in music when he began to study under the tutelage of Chicago saxophonist Todd Boyce. In high school Michael participated in various school ensembles, the IMEA District Jazz Bands and Concert Band, and the 2006-2007 Youth Jazz Ensemble of Dupage. In 2007 Michael was awarded the Woody Herman Jazz Award.
Michael graduated from Downers Grove North high school in 2007 and in the fall of that year began his undergraduate studies at Roosevelt University in Jazz Studies. During this time Michael studied and worked with numerous professionals including Jerry Dimuzio, Mike Smith, Scott Mason, and Tom Garling. He performed in the Roosevelt University Jazz Ensemble from 2007-2010 under the direction of Rob Parton. This band performed concerts with guest artists such as John Swana, Ralph Bowen, Wycliffe Gordon, Byron Stripling, Dick Oatts, Butch Miles, and Jeff Berlin. While in the band he also performed at the Jazz Showcase, the Notre Dame Jazz Festival, The Elmhurst College Jazz Festival and in the Auditorium Theater. He also performed with other Roosevelt University groups including the Nonet under the direction of Tom Garling, The Latin Jazz Ensemble with Reuben Alvarez and various small groups, graduating in April 2011 with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Jazz Studies.
Michael immersed himself in the Chicago music scene while studying at Roosevelt playing many genres of music in many different bands. Michael has performed with Hair of the Dog, Mojo, the Dime-a-Dozen Band, The Pink Machine, George Swayne, The Yorkville Big Band, Lisle Community Jazz Band, Switch Time Jazz Orchestra, Shout Section Big Band and Rob Parton’s Jazz Tech Big Band, as well as serving as a guest artist and clinician for Jefferson Jr. High School in Woodridge, IL. Some of the venues Michael has performed at include the Chicago Blues Fest, Forest Park’s Groovin’ in the Grove concert series, Wheaton Summer Fest, Fitzgerald’s, The Willowbrook Ballroom, The Skokie Theater, America’s Historic Roundhouse, Andy’s Jazz Club, Carmen’s Jazz Bistro, The Blues Bar and many other restaurants and clubs. He has also played the theater shows “Sweet Charity” at Roosevelt University and “The Original Grease” at the American Theater Company during the summer of 2011.
Michael currently lives in Macomb, IL and is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Music Education at Western Illinois University while working as the graduate assistant for the Jazz Department. You can see Michael performing with the WIU Jazz Studio Orchestra and combo as well as with his own jazz quartet, The Kennedy Administration and the rock group Legends.