Emeritus Director of Bands
Emeritus Professor of Music
Maurine Akin has been at Northwest College since 1984, first as a member of the violin section in the Northwest Civic Orchestra, and then as concertmaster of the same group. When several musicians from the orchestra formed “The Yellowstone Youth Orchestra”, she became conductor of the advanced group. During this time, she directed the Civic Orchestra when the conductor was on sabbatical, introducing the Orchestra’s popular Christmas concert. She became interim music director several years later and assumed the podium full-time in 2013. Akin is also the applied violin and viola instructor at Northwest. She has performed with the Billings Symphony orchestra for nearly 40 years and is a member of the “Sunlight String Quartet.”
Mrs. Akin studied music at Brigham Young University and played in the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s “Town and Gown” orchestra from 1980-1984, serving as concertmaster for a time. In addition to her teaching duties at Northwest College, she maintains a private studio in her home.
Ed Cook hails from San Diego where he studied music at USIU and was a top session guitarist in Southern California before moving to Wyoming. He has taught guitar for over 30 years, worked in bands, produced commercials for TV and Radio and writes, plays and produces all the music for the TV show “Best of the West.”
Ed Cook has been the guitar and bass instructor at Northwest College for several years. He also teaches the on-line class Music Fundamentals.
In 2007, Ed directed and produced the musical review of “Annie Get Your Gun” with Wendy Corr, and he plays lead guitar with West the band in Cody.
Ed is a versatile guitarist, playing many different styles. He moved to Powell in 1992 with his wife Debra and son Robbie.
Austin Frescoln teaches flute students as an adjunct instructor at Northwest College. She currently plays principal flute for the Northwest Civic Orchestra and has a private voice and flute studio.
Austin graduated in 2007 from Montana State University in Bozeman. She received a Music Degree with a focus in voice and flute.
Morgan Grover began his collegiate education at Northwest Community College before transferring to Montana State University where he received his Bachelor of Music Education degree. He also holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Washington. Morgan is currently completing his doctoral studies at Boston University.
Morgan has 20 years of public school teaching experience, primarily as director of bands, in Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. He is also an avid trumpet player who has enjoyed performing in a variety of ensembles from British Brass Band to Big Band.
Eric Hagmann is the Instructor of Vocal Music at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, where he directs Collegiate Chorale, Vocal Jazz I, Vocal Jazz II, Jazz Combo and teaches applied voice and piano lessons. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Minnesota: Duluth where he studied Music Theory and Composition with an emphasis in piano. While there, he received both Departmental Honors and the Music Theory Award for his work. In June of 2021, he completed his Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies with an emphasis in Jazz Voice at the University of Northern Colorado where he was proud to hold the position of the Vocal Jazz Teaching Assistant for the 2020-2021 school year. Additionally, he was granted the School of Music Outstanding Student Award in Jazz Voice.
Before pursuing graduate school, Eric spent seven years as an adjunct faculty at The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN where he had the privilege of directing Vocal Revolution, a contemporary pop a cappella ensemble. His experience with vocal music runs deep having sung with choirs as early as elementary school. In college, he sang with the Downbeat Award-winning vocal jazz ensemble, Lake Effect, under the direction of mentor Tina Thielen-Gaffey. Toward the end of his undergrad, he cofounded Fermata Nowhere, an a cappella ensemble consisting of fellow vocal jazz members for which he acted as the primary arranger. After graduation, he had the great honor of performing with the Phil Mattson Singers, and he was fortunate to participate in Phil’s final DCINY Vocal Jazz Festival held at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Later, Eric spent four years singing with the Twin Ports Choral Project in Duluth, MN under the direction of Bret Amundson.
Eric’s time at UMD provided him with ways to develop his piano skills which lead to several performance opportunities in his future. For 12 years, he accompanied UMD’s vocal jazz ensembles for auditions, retreats, and concerts. Additionally, he accompanied the high school faction of the Lake Superior Youth Chorus and traveled with them on their 2012 tour through Ireland. He spent two years playing with the Troppo Big Band in Chippewa Falls, WI. While teaching in Duluth, he also performed with the St. Scholastica Jazz Band, and he gigged with the Zenith City Sharps, a local jazz quartet, for one year before moving to Colorado. His most recent side project was playing with The Squalls, a variety group made up of current and former students from UNC.
Arranging has been a long-term passion that has been with Eric since high school. Since then, he has arranged music for other vocal ensembles, show choirs, and he has provided music for UMD’s annual Cabaret show for 10 years. He currently has over 45 published arrangements available on sheetmusicplus.com consisting mostly of contemporary pop a cappella tunes in various voicings. Recently, he has been creating charts specifically for vocal jazz ensembles and building his chops in Logic Pro X to make demo tracks of his work.
Neil Hansen is retired from Northwest College where he served as the Chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Division, Professor of Music, and Director of Bands where he directed the Northwest College Wind Band and the Northwest Jazz Band I for over 30 years. Mr. Hansen has degrees from the University of Northern Iowa and the University of Wyoming and has completed 36 hours toward a DMA in Music Education from Boston University. He has directed bands at all levels from elementary to college in both Iowa and Wyoming during his 40-year career.
Mr. Hansen served as the Chair of the Commission for Community/Jr. Colleges for the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and continues to serve on the Wyoming Arts Council Board. He is the founder of the Wyoming Jazz Educators and organized the first Wyoming Allstate Jazz Band and Jazz Choir. Mr. Hansen was a member of NAfME, Wyoming Music Educators Association, College Band Directors National Association, the International Trumpet Guild, and is a charter member of the Jazz Educators Network. He is the founder of the Yellowstone Jazz Camp, the Yellowstone Summer Music Camp, the Northwest Jazz Festival, and the Festival of Trumpets.
Mr. Hansen has served as a clinician and adjudicator in the Rocky Mountain region and has judged music festivals in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, California, South Dakota, Montana, Arizona and Alaska and Iowa. He has conducted Allstate Jazz Bands in Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming. He has also served as a band clinician conducting honor concert bands throughout Wyoming and Montana.
Neil was selected as a recipient of the 2007 Wyoming Governor’s Arts Award for his contribution to music in the State of Wyoming. He was honored in January of 2013 as the Wyoming Music Educator of the Year by the Wyoming Music Educators Association and as the Wyoming Jazz Educator of the year by the Wyoming Jazz Educators Association. Hansen was also honored as the 2013 Northwest College Distinguished Professor.
In 1995 the Northwest Jazz Band under his direction performed at the International Association of Jazz Educators 22nd Annual Convention in Anaheim, California. In 2006 he presented a workshop and was a keynote speaker for the 67th Annual Meeting of the Texas Association of Music Schools in Austin, TX. In 2004 he was honored in his hometown of Woodward, IA at the Jim Coffin Jazz Festival for his contributions to jazz education. Mr. Hansen presented a clinic at the 2nd Annual Jazz Educators Network Conference in New Orleans in January of 2011 on the topic of how to start and run a successful jazz camp.
Mr. Hansen was a founding member of the Yellowstone Jazz Festival, Inc., which served Park County, Wyoming by educating and entertaining through jazz for 25 years. This organization presented jazz events including the Yellowstone Jazz Festival in mid-July.
Michael Jaycox teaches K-5 general music in Powell, WY and Clark, WY. He previously taught K-5 general music and middle school choir, 6-12 band and 9-12 choir in Greybull, WY. He grew up in Laramie and graduated from Laramie High School in 2007. He then attended the University of Wyoming to pursue a degree in music education.
During his time at UW, Michael was very active in the collegiate music education program. He held offices in the UW chapter of CMENC, now NAfME, as secretary and twice as president. As president, Michael was responsible for bringing in clinicians to present to the local chapter. Michael also organized a community program where UW students would go and perform for at a local nursing home. In 2010, he also received a certificate of achievement from The National Association for Music Education for his dedication to music education and leadership as president with CMENC.
During his time as an undergraduate, Michael was a drum major with the Western Thunder Marching Band for four years, two of those years as head drum major. Michael graduated with his Bachelor’s in Music Education in 2012 and started in the UW Summer Master’s program in the summer of 2013. Michael completed his Master’s in Music Education in August of 2015. In 2016, Michael was awarded the honor of Outstanding Young Music Educator for the North Big Horn Basin Music District. Michael has completed Orff Levels I and II and finished his Orff Certification in the summer of 2019.
Michael is very active within the WMEA having served as the In-Ovations Vice president for 2016-2018 and Elementary VP from 2018-2019.
Mike Masterson began teaching in the Music Department at Northwest College, Powell, Wyoming, in 1977, and retired at the end of this 2009-2010 school year after 33 years. He served as Chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Division for 10 years and also taught Music History I & II , Introduction to Music, The History and Culture of Rock n Roll, and was involved with the Studio Singers Jazz Choir. A trombonist, Dr. Masterson cliniced and adjudicated in both vocal and instrumental areas in five regional states. Mike organized the vocal side of the Northwest College Jazz Festival and helped start the All State Vocal Jazz program serving Wyoming high school students.
In February 2003 he presented a paper on “Music is Life” at the All-Northwest Music Educator’s conference in Portland, Oregon. In 2006 he presented a General Session at the Wyoming All State Conference: “The Times They Are a Changing”: A Practical Guide to Ways that Cultural Studies Enhances Music Education.
His whole family is involved in education. His wife, Pam, taught at Westside Elementary School in Powell. Their daughter, Melina, graduated from Boston College in 2007 with a Masters Degree in Italian Studies. Their son, Anthony, graduated in 2008 from Kenyon College in Ohio. He focused on Italian, English, writing, and general education course and also broadcast games over the internet for their baseball team. He enjoyed that so much that he interned at Fox Sports in Denver to learn about the sports business. In the summer of 2009 he broadcast minor league baseball games for the Potomac Nationals, a Single A team just south of Washington D. C.
Originally from American Fork, Utah, Kristofer Michaels has been active as a musician of a multifaceted nature from about age 13. Kristofer Michaels started piano lessons at age 6 with his mother, but did not take piano lessons very seriously until about age 13 when he began piano lessons with Dr. David Glen Hatch. It was at this time that he decided to practice the piano at least 2 hours a day. His attendence at the Gina Bachauer International Artists competition at this time was very inspirational to him, and he knew after attending the performances therein that he wanted to play the piano at a high level.
From very early on, he showed an interest in modern music such as that written by Sergei Prokofiev. He has continued to play Prokofiev’s music to the modern day. In 2004 and 2005, he took part in concert tours given by Dr. David Glen Hatch that explored Poland, Austria, the Czech Republic, and surrouding areas, as well as the Ukraine. For these tours, he performed Prokofiev and Liszt. These tours also had a great influence on him and he learned what it was like to be a performer. Kristofer also studied the piano with Dr. Irene Peery-Fox at this time.
After graduating from high school, he began working on his bachelors degree at the University of Utah for piano performance. While at the University of Utah, he studied under the tutelage of Dr. Heather Conner. Kristofer would remain at the University of Utah throughout his study of a masters degree as well. While undergoing his masters degree, he taught keyboarding classes and private lessons for the University of Utah. During his stay at the University of Utah, he was able to win a number of piano competitions resulting in concerto and solo performances.
In 2008 he performed Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with the Utah Philharmonia. That year he would also perform Prokofiev’s piano concerto no. 2 (mov 1) with the Salt Lake Symphony. Soon thereafter he performed Prokofiev’s piano concerto no. 2 (mov 1) with the Couer D’Alene Symphony, as the first prize winner of the 2009 concerto competition. At this time he was also a finalist at the 2009 Isabel Scionti International Piano Concerto Competition in Kingsville, Texas. During approximately this time, he also performed for the Canyonlands New Music Ensemble guest composer series during appearances by Lee Hyla, George Tsontakis, Fred Lerdahl and Shulamit Ran. He also performed new music frequently for students at the University of Utah in a variety of other concerts. He was also a pianist for concerts given by the Salty Cricket New Music Ensemble at approximately this time. At this time he also accompanied many different kinds of musicians, and was a guest vocal accompanist for a choir at the University of Utah. He also performed in master classes given by Murray Perahia, Stephen Beus, Jon Kimura Parker and Jeffrey Kahane. He excelled in new music, but also enjoyed music of the romantic era by composers such as Sergei Rachmaninoff, Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms.
After completing his master of music degree, he decided to continue his studies and became a doctoral student at the University of Kansas. He would study under the tutelage of Dr. Jack Winerock for the three years during his stay at KU. During this time, he performed at The Catholic University of America and the Kennedy Center, as the winner of the 2014 IYAPC in Washington D.C. He was also the winner of the best performance of new, eastern repertoire that was written by the director of the piano competition.
After completing his Doctoral degree, he worked as a ballet accompanist for a time. During his stay at the University of Kansas, he would accompany for a wide variety of different kinds of musicians, especially vocalists.
Kristofer Michaels currently lives in Burlington, Wyoming where he enjoys teaching piano lessons and accompanying for the local choirs. His hobbies include basketball, jogging, chess, drawing, video games, rock hounding and composition. He considers himself to be an amateur composer, and has studied composition with Dr. Steve Roens and Dr. Marden Pond.
Linda Murray, a Powell native, holds a B.S. and M.S. in Entomology from the University of Wyoming, where she studied cello with Dr. David Tomatz, played in the University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra, and sang soprano in the Choral Union.
Linda has played in the Northwest Civic Orchestra since 1975, was a member of the Billings Symphony for ten years, co-directed the Yellowstone Youth Orchestra, and is the cellist in the Shoshone Trio and Sunlight String Quartet.
Linda also plays the piano, organ, accordion, guitar, flute, recorder, and English handbells. She serves as Music Director at her church, directing the Chancel Choir and the Chesarek Bell Choir, as well as ringing solo handbells. At Powell Middle School and High School, Linda is the piano accompanist for four choirs.
She believes that learning is a lifelong joy, and that music is best shared with people of all ages.
Craig Olson is originally from Southern California where he acquired a diverse musical background. He toured for 4 years as a saxophonist with United States Navy Band out of San Diego. After the service he received his Bachelors from Cal Poly and a Masters from Azusa Pacific College. For the next seventeen years he was in public education and had an outstanding program at Pioneer Middle School where his groups were featured at the International Association of Jazz Educators Conventions. He served as President of Jazz Education for the Southern California Band and Orchestra Association.
Craig also served as the Southern California representative for IAJE. He has been on the staff for many jazz camps over the years including the Fullerton College Jazz Camp, Fullerton State College All-American Jazz Camp, the Idylwild School of Music and the Arts and the Yellowstone Jazz Camp. A resident of Cody, Wyoming, Craig currently teaches both Wind & Saxophone ensembles, and he previously directed Vocal and Instrumental Jazz Groups at Northwest College. He is also director of Bell Choir at First United Methodist Church in Cody. In addition to these activities he owns and operates his own music business, adjudicates festivals, and teaches in his private studio. He continues to play professionally in the area.
Craig also has adjudicated music festivals in Montana and Wyoming in addition to conducting honor bands including the 2005 Montana Eastern Allstate Jazz Band.
Zach Paris is the Director of Bands and Percussion Studies at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, where he directs the Northwest College Jazz Ensemble I, Jazz Ensemble II, Wind Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Jazz Combo, and also teaches music history and applied percussion lessons. Before coming to Northwest College, Zach taught courses at Iowa Western Community College, Central Arizona College, Arizona Christian University, the University of Nebraska, and Arizona State University.
As a performer, Zach is an extremely versatile percussionist that specializes in a wide range of musical styles. His omnivorous approach in performance and education has led him to a career in jazz, latin, pop, country, rock, and heavy metal drum set, as well as marching percussion, classical percussion, African percussion, multi-percussion, and four-mallet marimba. In these areas, Zach has won a number of competitions including the Nebraska Guitar Center Drum-Off finals, the Victoria Drum Festival Solo Competition, the Heartland Marimba Festival Solo Competition, the Scottsdale Guitar Center Drum-Off, the Paul Seidel Drumming Competition, and the Percussive Arts Society International Percussion Ensemble Competition. He has also been recognized as a winner of 2 DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards in the Graduate Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist category.
His performance background includes appearances with the Arizona Music Festival Orchestra, the Pan Asian Dance Coalition, Randy Brecker, Jason Palmer, the Phoenix Symphony, Dave Pietro, Dave Douglas, Ballet Arizona, Walter Smith III, Andy Narell, and the Symphony of the Southwest. He is also one of the original founders of the rock band Righteous Vendetta (Sony Records). He spent 2 years with the band, touring the country playing countless venues and festivals in over 35 states. The band also won a number of competitions, including the Mountain West Region of the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands. He can be heard on Righteous Vendetta’s first 2 recordings “Complexity of the Fallen” and “The Dawning” (Red Cord Records).
Zach currently holds associate degrees in music education, music performance, and music technology from Northwest College (where he was named the 2010 Music Student of the Year), a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Wyoming (where he was named the Presser Scholar in 2013), and a master’s degree in percussion performance (MM) from the University of Nebraska, and a doctorate in percussion performance (DMA) at Arizona State University.
As a trumpet player, composer and sound designer Dr. Rumbolz maintains a strong affinity for the offbeat and unpredictable contours of contemporary music. As an undergraduate music student at Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN, Dr. Rumbolz first developed a fascination with music synthesis and sound recording.
He received his Masters of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota in Composition and Theory where he concentrated on composition incorporating various non-Western elements as well as improvisation.
For nearly ten years, Robert Rumbolz was a regular face in the active Minneapolis/St. Paul new music and jazz scene where he played regularly with the Pat Moriarty ensemble and wrote music for Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater and The Minnesota Ballet Theater and School.
Developing his interest in non-western music, Dr. Rumbolz went on to study ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT where he received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Ethnomusicology. In 1993, he was able to travel to the West African Nation of the Republic of Ghana as a Fulbright Fellow to conduct research on the history of brass bands from the colonial period to the present day.
As a performer, Robert has had the opportunity to play and record with a distinguished field of artists in jazz and new music including: the late Ed Blackwell, Anthony Braxton, Don Byron, the late Doc Cheatham, the late Don Cherry, the late Julius Hemphill, Guy Klusevic, Jimmy Knepper, Roscoe Mitchel, David Murray, John Rapson, Roswell Rudd.
Always interested in a challenge, Dr. Rumbolz jumped at the opportunity to create and produce the first transpacific live-interactive arts event for ATT and US Midwest/Japan. This forty minute program coordinated dancers and performers form several remote locations (including Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls, IA and Tokyo Japan) to demonstrate advances in fiber optic technology.
In 1998, Robert and his wife, Elaine DeBuhr, were blessed with a son, Miles. In an effort to find a voice for this new life experience Robert turned to the perfect medium to tell a story with sound – Radio. His commentary and music piece, “Father’s Day Postcard” was featured on National Public Radio’s “Weekend All Things Considered.”
Guitarist/composer Jeff Troxel joined the Northwest College music faculty in the fall of 2013. An alum of Northwest, he also holds a B.M. from Berklee College of Music, and an MM from the University of Southern California. Jeff has taught at USC, University of Laverne, Rocky Mountain College, and Central Wyoming College. An author for Mel Bay and FGM Publishing, Jeff also serves on the faculty for several music camps.
As a composer, Jeff’s music is featured on several public television shows, and he is a two-time recipient of the Wyoming Arts Council’s Performing Arts Fellowship in music composition. As a guitarist, he has won state flatpicking championships in Wyoming, Utah, as well as the 2003 National Championship.
Jeff has shared the stage with Pete Huttlinger, Mike Dowling, Chuck Pyle, Brian Wicklund, Bobby Shew, Matt Flinner, Larry Koonse, Frank Mantooth, Ronnie Bedford, Jack Reilly, Warren Chiasson, and many others. He maintains an active performance schedule in the region and is available for concerts, clinics and workshops.
Known for his unique musical versatility, Wyoming native Michael Yenny holds the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2009), where he studied with Mark Clinton. Dr. Yenny also studied collaborative piano with internationally acclaimed professor of collaborative piano, Anne Epperson. Dr. Yenny is currently active as a church musician, recital soloist, orchestral pianist, musical theater pianist, competition accompanist, independent piano teacher, and has been a prolific composer and arranger for many years. He is honored to be part of the Northwest College Music Department.