Community Spotlight: Vail Jazz Foundation |

Community Spotlight: Vail Jazz Foundation

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail DailyVail Jazz Festival photo by Ned Radinsky

Organization name: The Vail Jazz Foundation, Inc.

Executive Director/president: Mia Vlaar, Executive Director

Location: Vail, Colorado!

Phone number: 970-479-6146

Web address:

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., except on concert days

Years in business: 15

What is the organization’s mission and who benefits from its work?

The Vail Jazz Foundation was founded in 1994 following the successful presentation of the first annual Vail Jazz Party. Our mission is to support and perpetuate the jazz art form through the presentation of live performances and education programs, with a special focus on young musicians and young audiences.

Our work benefits residents and guests alike, young and old – from hard core jazz fans to those who may be less familiar with this unique American music. The annual Vail Jazz Festival runs from June through the beginning of September, and includes more than 15 free concerts, including the ICEF Jazz and Marching Band, a group of 100 students from South Central Los Angeles charter schools that travels to Vail to perform as part of our July 4th celebrations. The Festival concludes with The Vail Jazz Party, four days and nights of jazz, which is at the Vail Marriott this year.

Our schedule is designed to complement the wonderful cultural offering in Vail, with Bravo opening the summer, Dance taking the baton in early August and the Vail Jazz Festival offering concerts from early August through Labor Day weekend. We are also dedicated to supporting young musicians and young audiences, which we do through two key education programs.

The Vail Jazz Workshop is an intensive 10-day workshop in Vail that trains 12 of the most talented high school-aged jazz musicians in North America. The Workshop has been instrumental in helping launch some of the rising stars on the jazz scene today. Jazz Goes to School is an educational program representing over six hours of instruction, which teaches more than 1,000 children in Eagle County about jazz and social studies each year. The program culminates with a final concert at the Vilar Performing Arts Center each spring.

Where does your funding come from?

We are fortunate to have tremendous support from corporate and business sponsors ranging from the town of Vail to Alpine Bank and Yamaha Pianos. We also have a strong base of donors whose generosity sustains us, and we also benefit from grants from nonprofit organizations like the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation and United Way Eagle River Valley.

The majority of our programming, thanks to contributions, is offered at no charge to participants, including 10 concerts at the Vail Farmers’ Market, five concerts at Jazz at Vail Square in Lionshead and our education programs.

How many staff members work for you?

We run a tight ship with only one employee, but are assisted by a capable and dedicated group of wonderful and enthusiastic volunteers. We can always use more help, and we make it fun.

Anything else you’d like the community to know about the organization?

We all need to remember that even in tough times, the arts provide depth and meaning to our lives. We are fortunate to have some wonderful arts organizations in this community, such as Bravo!, The Vail International Dance Festival and the Vilar Performing Arts Center, to enhance the experience of living in or visiting Vail. These organizations are solid and worthy, and along with the Vail Jazz Foundation, we encourage the community to consider supporting their work.


Contact Community Editor Lauren Glendenning at 970-748-2983, or

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