Youth Jazz Ensemble (UJAY)

uwm youth jazz ensemble

Location: UWM Music Building
Rosemary Walzer,

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Youth Jazz ensemble (UJAY) is an auditioned group comprised of the Greater Milwaukee Area’s finest high school jazz musicians. Founded by Curt Hanrahan in 1992 and now under the direction of saxophonist Rosemary Walzer, UJAY students prepare quality repertoire in a professional-style setting, engage with guest artists/clinicians, and perform in the University and Milwaukee jazz communities.

In addition to the four concerts with the UWM Jazz Ensemble, UJAY offers other performing opportunities, including opening for the Milwaukee Jazz Orchestra at Summerfest and Jean’s Jazz Series, and performing in the Woody Herman Jazz Festival, with guest artists such as Jon Faddis (trumpet), Jim Pugh (trombone), Eddie Gomez (bass), Frank Tiberi (saxophone), Roger Ingram (trumpet), and vocalist Steve March-Tormé.

The Youth Jazz Ensemble program works in cooperation with high school music programs and relies on the support of school band directors and private teachers throughout SE Wisconsin.

Ensemble rehearsals take place in UW-Milwaukee’s Music Building rm. 150 on Thursday evenings from 6-7:30 p.m.

Spring Entrance Auditions

To qualify to participate in UJAY, students must pass an entrance audition and remain enrolled in some aspect of their school’s music program.

Once confirmed, saxophone, trumpet and trombone players will participate in a second audition for chair placement on Thursday, September 8, 2022.


  • Chromatic Scale – A two-octave chromatic scale (any starting pitch), performed both ascending and descending with a swing feel. Additional range (especially for brass) may be demonstrated. Percussion are exempt from this requirement.
  • Improvised Solo – Prepare an improvised solo on a jazz standard or 12 bar blues. Play the head, solo on two choruses, and play the head out. Bass/Piano/Guitar- comp for an additional chorus. Drum set- Demonstrate swing style (slow, medium, up tempo), brush work, funk style, and a latin style of your choice (bossa nova, samba, mambo).
  • Audition Video – Record your audition video that incorporates all of the above requirements and save it as a single video file. Upload your audition video to a private YouTube channel, iCloud, Dropbox, or another cloud-based storage platform, and then share the link in the spring registration/audition form.

Please prepare your audition video before starting the online registration form. 

Register Now


Returning UJAY Musicians $400
New UJAY Musicians $470
Enrollment in both UWAY and UJAY programs $650
Member of MYSO Jazz or Wisconsin Conservatory of Music Jazz Honors Programs $400

A link to our tuition/fee payment system, managed by the Peck School of the Arts Box Office staff, will be sent after returning students submit their registration form and after new/prospective students audition videos has been evaluated and accepted. 

To secure your place in the program, a minimum (non-refundable) registration fee of $200 will be due before July 15. 

We are glad to assist any UJAY student-musician with a reduced registration fee (scholarship) as demonstrated through stated financial need. Please contact Rosemary Walzer for more details.


All concerts are at 7:30 p.m. 

  • Thursday, November 17, 2022 – Jan Serr Studio
  • Thursday, February 9, 2023 – Jan Serr Studio
  • Thursday, March 19, 2023 – Jan Serr Studio
  • Tuesday, May 9, 2023 – Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts