Category Archives: News

Rufus Ferguson Joins Teaching Faculty

March 9, 2018- Rufus Ferguson has joined the Crescendo teaching roster! A jazz pianist based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Rufus received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Western Michigan University under the mentorship of Jeremy Siskind. During his tenure at WMU he has studied with artists such as Scott Cowan, Andrew Rathbun, Edward Simon, Frank Carlberg and participated in exclusive masterclasses with artists such as Fred Hersch, Kenny Barron, Barry Harris and more. He is an experienced performer, arranger, composer and teacher, specifically in the jazz genre.

Rufus got his start studying classical piano at the age of five. He became a gospel church organist at a young age and later began playing jazz piano at age 13. His dedication to being equally well-versed in multiple genres of music has afforded him many unique opportunities such as playing with Grammy-nominated and award-winning artists and groups of all genres.

Rufus arrangements and compositions has been played by many artist and groups such as, WMU Advanced Jazz Ensemble, the Rufus Ferguson Ensemble, the Nashon Holloway Band. These collaborative experiences led to opportunities to teach at The Keith Hall Summer Drum Intensive in Kalamazoo, Michigan and Showchoir Camps of America at Heidelburg University in Tiffin, Ohio.

He has performed at several festivals such as the Notre Dame Jazz Festival, Elmhurst Jazz Festival, Flint Jazz Festival and the Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. In May 2016, Rufus became a piano instructor at Western Michigan University where he also directs the University Jazz Lab Band.  In addition to his position at WMU, Rufus is a piano instructor for the Suzuki Academy of Kalamazoo, Crescendo Academy of Music and Gilmore Education Department. He is also the Jazz Band Director at Portage Northern High School and rhythm section coach for the Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Orchestra.

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Summer Solstice Jazz ~ 30th Anniversary Event

February 5, 2018 – Join Crescendo as we celebrate the Summer Solstice and our 30th Anniversary of providing music instruction to the Kalamazoo community! Thursday, June 21, 2018 from 6:00-9:00 pm at The Union Cabaret & Grille in downtown Kalamazoo.

Musician Sponsors:

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Classical Mandolin Society of America Grant Received

December 14, 2017 – Crescendo received a grant from the Classical  Mandolin Society of America for the purchase of instruments for our new Mando for Kids program. The Mando for Kids curriculum was designed to introduce elementary school children to the mandolin as a classical instrument. Our class is taught by members of the Kalamazoo Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra (which is sponsored by Crescendo Academy of Music).

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Crescendo Receives Grant from Irving S. Gilmore Foundation

November 28, 2017 – The Irving S. Gilmore Foundation has again awarded a grant to support Crescendo Academy of Music. The Irving S. Gilmore Foundation “endeavors to develop and enrich the Greater Kalamazoo community by supporting the work of nonprofit organizations that benefit Kalamazoo County residents.” This grant will be used to support general operations. Crescendo thanks the foundation for its continuing support of our work!

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Mando for Kids Class Added

November 2, 2017 – The first Mando for Kids class will meet on Tuesdays from 6:00 to 6:45 from November 14 to December 19. John Hosley and Douglas Sneddon will be team-teaching this class.

Cost for the 6-week class is $90. Developed by Laura Norris, the Mando for Kids curriculum was designed to introduce elementary school children to the mandolin as a classical instrument. Instruments will be provided for this class. For more information or to register, contact the office at or 269-345-6664.

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