Moody’s Jazz Camp celebrates 15 years in Truckee |

Moody’s Jazz Camp celebrates 15 years in Truckee

Moody’s Jazz Camp celebrated its 15th year of mentoring young, local musicians this month.

“It’s always so high energy,” said Carolyn Hamilton who helps organize the camp each year.

Around 50 students, ages nine to 18, attended the free camp at which they received instruction from world class musicians.

“A big part of jazz camp is to create a connection between the kids and real working renowned musicians,” said Hamilton. “It’s not only free but it’s really exciting.”

The roster of professional musicians this year included Adam Theis, director of Jazz Mafia and Moody’s Jazz Camp, Adam Benjamin, a Grammy nominated Jazz professor at University of Nevada Reno, Kenny Brooks, a saxophonist from New York City and Josh Jones a drummer from New York City.

“It’s great for them to see what a professional musician is,” said JJ Morgan, who founded the camp. “For them to see how they act, rehearse and how they are so inclusive it gives them something to strive towards,” he said.

Morgan said many of the students they host each year are accepted into music departments around the country, including Berklee College of Music. “I’ve seen the camp affect kids in so many different ways that have gone on to pursue music at the college level,” said Morgan

Morgan, the co-owner of Moody’s Bistro in downtown Truckee, founded the camp in 2005 when he thought Truckee was lacking in resources for young musicians.

“Truckee is all good on athletics,” he said. With the camp Morgan hopes to expose young musicians to the culture of Jazz.

“JJ does not want any barrier between kids and music,” said Hamilton.

When Morgan moved to Truckee in 1999 from the Bay Area he said he saw a lack of arts education in the school district.

“In the Bay Area the music and the arts is more prevalent. When I got here the schools were cutting programs like crazy and I knew I could help,” he said. “Musically it’s been great to see it progress,” said Morgan. “Truckee High is absolutely killing it this year.”

To operate each year the camp relies of donations from community organizations including the

Truckee Excellence in Music Parent Organization (TEMPO) which fundraises for the Truckee High School band, the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, and the Kawyha Fund which was started by local resident Jim Morrison.

“He has been incredible to us,” said Hamilton.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at or 530-550-2652.

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