Matt Falker is on full-time faculty at MiraCosta College in Oceanside, CA, where he directs the Frequency vocal jazz program and teaches theory and piano classes. He is also serving as adjunct faculty at Cal State Long Beach teaching private jazz voice lessons. His previous faculty positions include the University of Southern California and Cal State Northridge. He is the founder and director of the Oceanside Jazz Festival, a non-competitive vocal jazz and big band festival hosted at MiraCosta College.
A native of northern Michigan, Matt received his undergraduate degree from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo in jazz piano and his graduate degree from the University of Southern California in jazz voice. An active performer and clinician internationally, his recent appearances as a guest clinician or performer include festivals in Washington, Oklahoma, Illinois, Alberta, Manitoba, and California, including prominent events such as the Reno Jazz Festival and the 2015 ACDA National Convention. He has also served as the guest conductor for All-State Vocal Jazz Ensembles for Washington, Iowa, Colorado, and others. Matt is also the vocal jazz instructor for the Monterey Jazz Festival Summer Camp, and he and Christine Guter co-host a one day vocal jazz workshop at Cal State Long Beach each August.
He sings in the professional vocal jazz quartet ‘True North’, comprised of Southern California studio musicians and clinicians, and sings and plays with his own group as well. Both True North and the Matt Falker Quartet have performed featured sets at the Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conference. In 2015, Matt was also one of a select group of teachers chosen as a quarter-finalist for the GRAMMY’s Music Educator Award.
Matt’s vocal arrangements are published by Sound Music Publications and UNC Jazz Press, and he also distributes music through his own publishing company, Matfal Music. He has published an instructional DVD through Sound Music Publications entitled “Jazz Piano For Singers, Volume 1”. On Matt’s most recent sabbatical, he arranged and scored a new musical based on the life of Nat ‘King’ Cole, which premiered at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, and was performed at MiraCosta in December 2016.
Matt’s solo CD ‘Playpen’ featuring his singing, playing, and writing and the True North CD ‘Voyage’ are both available for download on CD Baby and iTunes. Matt also plays keyboards for the Los Angeles Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America. More information about Matt and his music is available at matfalmusic.com. True North can be contacted at truenorthquartet.com.
Sean Fitzpatrick is a freelance studio singer (SAG-AFTRA), drummer, vocal percussionist, sound engineer, and educator in Los Angeles, CA. He earned a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSU Long Beach, and a master’s degree in jazz studies from California Institute of the Arts.
With over 12 years of professional vocal and instrumental ensemble experience, Sean is a highly versatile musician and performer. Sean was a member of Pacific Chorale, Arf, Clarion Singers, and various contemporary a cappella ensembles. He also regularly performs as drummer and vocalist with his jazz duo “Just Friends”. At the Academy of Creative Education at Oakwood School in Hollywood, CA, he has held the position of lead sound engineer for over seven years.
He is also co-director of choral and vocal studies at Citrus College, working with vocal jazz, choral, and commercial music ensembles. He also taught at CSU Long Beach, Fullerton College, Long Beach City College, Musician’s Institute, and Orange County School of the Arts. In addition to his teaching position, he is an in-demand adjudicator and clinician.
Christine Guter (Helferich) is a jazz vocalist, pianist, and studio singer who brings an immense wealth of experience to our faculty. She has a full, rich voice of great range and versatility. Christine mainly works as a jazz vocalist, but is versed in many musical styles including classical, pop/rock, musical theater, country, and blues. She has performed extensively at concerts, festivals, colleges, and other venues in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Christine performs frequently in L.A. and Orange County, and has worked with many legendary musicians including Joe Williams, Rosemary Clooney, Diane Schuur, Maynard Ferguson, Mercer Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Mel Torme, Bobby McFerrin, and Darmon Meader.
Christine has worked extensively in studio settings since 1990, and has sung on over 40 Hollywood soundtracks including Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Despicable Me 2, Oz the Great and Powerful, The Lorax, Men in Black 3, Ice Age 4, Superman Returns, Beowulf, Horton Hears a Who, and Spiderman 3. She is a member of SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild—American Federation of Television and Radio Artists). She also is the lead singer in the nationally acclaimed vocal jazz ensemble, Vocalogy.
An extraordinary educator, Christine is active nationally as a guest conductor, lecturer, adjudicator, and clinician. She has presented many clinics, performances, and demonstrations for music education organizations and conferences, and has conducted numerous All-State Jazz Choirs. Christine is on the board for the California Alliance for Jazz (CAJ), and is a member of the Jazz Education Network (JEN), California Music Educators Association (CMEA), Music Educator’s National Conference (MENC), and American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). She serves the California ACDA as Vocal Jazz R&S Chair. She is sought after as a clinician and adjudicator for jazz festivals and workshops throughout the United States and Canada.
Christine is currently the Director of Vocal Jazz at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University Long Beach. She teaches private jazz and classical voice lessons, a solo jazz vocal techniques course, class jazz piano, jazz theory, and directs the university’s award-winning vocal jazz ensemble, Pacific Standard Time.
Michelle Hawkins (www.michellehawkins.com) is an award-winning choral director, arranger, and vocalist. As Associate Professor of Music at Skyline College (San Bruno, CA), she directs the acclaimed vocal jazz ensemble, Soundscape. She serves on the faculty of the Stanford Jazz Workshop (Palo Alto, CA) where she received the 2017 Outstanding Music Educator Award. Her groups have won four Downbeat Music Awards for "Best Vocal Jazz Group" and have placed 1st at the Reno Jazz Festival and 2nd at the Monterey Next Generation Festival. Soundscape recently completed a performance tour to New York City (Apollo Theater and Carnegie Hall), and they were selected to perform a concert session at the 2018 ACDA Western Division Conference in Pasadena, CA.
Michelle is an active choral clinician and adjudicator, serves as the Chair of Vocal Jazz Repertoire and Resources for the California Choral Directors Association (CCDA) and ACDA Western Division, and holds degrees from the University of Southern California (MM in Jazz Studies) and UC Berkeley (BA in Music).
Whether on stage or in the classroom, vocalist Jamie Shew seeks to project personal emotions and experiences through song.
She began her musical training at the age of four, when she was first introduced to the piano. The desire to sing was very strong; however, she was always needed as an accompanist. It was during her senior year in high school that her choir director gave her a Karen Carpenter solo – she was hooked.
Jamie earned a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Washington State University and a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance/Jazz Studies at Western Michigan University. As a graduate assistant, she studied with one of her favorite jazz vocalists, Sunny Wilkinson, and performed and recorded with the renowned vocal jazz ensemble, Gold Company.
As a jazz vocalist, Jamie continues to enjoy a dynamic performance career among many internationally recognized jazz musicians such as Larry Koonse, Darek Oles, Royce Campbell, Chuck Manning, Bruce Babad, Jeremy Siskind, Kendall Kay, Mike Scott, Matt Politano, Danny Janklow, Dave Robaire, Will Brahm, Joe Bagg, Steve Cotter, Jason Harnell, Dan Schnelle, and Josh Nelson.
In addition to a rich performance career, Jamie is Coordinator of Vocal Jazz Studies at Fullerton College in Fullerton, California, where she teaches private jazz voice lessons, two levels of Vocal Jazz Styling and Improvisation courses, Music Theory, History of Rock and Roll, directs two groups in the award-winning vocal jazz ensemble program, and is the vocalist for the Faculty Jazz Cadre high school educational outreach program. She is also an in-demand adjudicator and clinician for jazz festivals throughout the country and internationally, has served as the past Vocal Jazz Chair of the Southern California Vocal Association, and has directed the California All-State Vocal Jazz Ensemble.