Purple border

Sukin Series


Jun 8, 2024


Babcock Theatre

2810 2nd Ave N

$25 - $42

Scott Jeppesen, director

With a catalogue spanning six decades and multiple musical genres, Stevie Wonder’s artistic contributions have earned him the status of the most-awarded solo artist of all time. The Rocky Mountain Jazz Collective presents an instrumental tribute with such timeless hits as “Sir Duke,” “Innervisions,” “Superstition,” and “Isn’t She Lovely?”

To get tickets:

Click to buy online

  • Stevie Wonder was the youngest solo artist to have a #1 song on Billboard. In the 59 years since no one has come close to the record Stevie Wonder achieved when he was only 13. As Little Stevie Wonder, his song, “Fingertips – Part 2”, reached #1 on the Billboard Top 100, making him the youngest artist to do so. The track simultaneously became the #1 R&B song in the country—also a first.
  • Stevie Wonder was the recipient of numerous honors. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, and in 1999 he was awarded the Polar Music Prize for lifetime achievement by the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. That year he also became a Kennedy Center honoree. In 2005 Wonder received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement. Four years later he was awarded the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from the Library of Congress, and he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014.

Guest artists

Scott Jeppesen is currently an Associate Professor of Music at Montana State University Billings, teaching Music Theory, Music History, Commercial Improvisation, Commercial Composition/Arranging, Jazz Combo, Music Business, and private lessons on saxophone, clarinet, and flute.

Scott is an alumnus of the University of Southern California, where he earned a Bachelor of Music (BM), Master of Music (MM), and Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree in Jazz Studies.

Before accepting the position at MSUB, Scott lived in Los Angeles for seventeen years. During that time, he performed with many legendary artists, including Maria Schneider, Bobby McFerrin, Russell Ferrante, Burt Bacharach, Lalo Schifrin, Alan Pasqua, Bill Watrous, Shelly Berg, John Daversa, Manhattan Transfer, Stevie Wonder, Nancy Wilson, Artie Shaw, Bob Mintzer, Dave Brubeck, Natalie Cole, Louis Bellson, Al Jarreau, Steve Miller, Randy Brecker, and James Moody. Scott has composed and arranged for many different artists, including Steve Miller, Ramsey Lewis, Natalie Cole, Ruben Studdard, Dave Koz, Ledisi, Burt Bacharach, Monica Mancini, Scott Martin, and the PBS Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, which aired in the spring of 2007.

In 2009, he cofounded Cultivating Creative Minds with his wife, Roxanne, which provides art instruction to elementary school-aged students throughout Santa Clarita, CA.

Scott has released two solo albums: "El Guapo (2013)" and "Wonders (2016)." An in-demand guest artist and clinician, Scott has performed for many colleges, high schools, and middle schools across the United States.

Since 2019, Scott has served as the musical director for the Rocky Mountain Jazz Collective. This ensemble aims to increase appreciation and awareness of jazz music through the performance of themed programs with cultural and historical significance to the history and development of American music. Since its formation, the RMJC has performed tributes to Henry Mancini, Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Blue Note Records, Oliver Nelson, and Sammy Nestico. In 2023, Scott arranged "Christmas on Broadway," a 100-minute-long holiday show for a big band, string orchestra, and Broadway vocalists Nicolas Dromard and Desirée Davaar. With Scott as guest conductor, the Billings Symphony Orchestra performed the show at the Alberta Bair Theater in December of 2023. Scott is writing ten new arrangements of Stevie Wonder's music, which the ensemble will perform in June 2024.

Scott is a D'Addario Performing Artist.

Photography by Pepe Carmona © 2021


John is a distinguished trumpet-player, composer, arranger, producer, bandleader and educator. He is also a multiple Grammy Award winner and nominee and the recipient of many other awards and honors. In addition to his active career as a performer and recording artist he is currently Professor and Chair of Studio Music and Jazz at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Daversa grew up in a musical household, where he passionately sang and played various instruments from a very young age, eventually picking up the trumpet. Throughout his childhood the family moved several times, residing in Oklahoma, Las Vegas, and Sacramento, and ultimately returned to Los Angeles where he attended Hamilton Academy of Music for his final two years of high school. While still a student he began writing for large and small jazz ensembles and performed regularly with his quartet, Second Generation. It was during this time that he began playing the Electronic Valve Instrument (EVI). As a member of the Monterey All-Star High School Big Band for four years, John toured Japan and performed with iconic guest artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, J.J. Johnson, and Clark Terry. Upon graduating high school, he was recognized with both the Herb Alpert Award and the Italian Heritage Award and soon began pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree at UCLA in music composition and performance. Throughout the 1990’s, Daversa continued to be recognized as one of the jazz world’s most promising young performers and composers, winning the National Trumpet Competition, the International Trumpet Guild Jazz Soloist Competition, and the David Joel Miller Award for Composition and Performance, and placing as a semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Trumpet Competition. During this time he founded and led various ensembles including the Junk Wagon Trio, The D.a.M. Band, which released an album in 1994, and the John Daversa Progressive Big Band, founded in 1996, which recorded Live at Catalina’s in 2000.

From 2000 to 2003, Daversa toured Europe as the musical director for Holiday On Ice: In Concert, performing on trumpet, EVI, electric bass and spoken word. During the production’s summer hiatuses, he returned to the U.S., performing at the legendary Moon River Theatre in Branson, Missouri with renowned American crooners Andy Williams and Glen Campbell. In 2004 Daversa returned to Los Angeles with a focus on higher education, earning a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Jazz Studies at the California Institute of the Arts in 2006 and a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Jazz Studies at University of Southern California in 2009, where he was recognized with the USC Jazz Studies Department Award. For the following two years he remained at USC as an adjunct instructor where he was nominated for the Mellon Award for Excellence in Mentoring. In 2011 he accepted a full-time position at California State University, Northridge. Under Daversa’s direction, the school’s Jazz “A” Band was named the winner of the Collegiate Division Best Large Jazz Ensemble at the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival, Best Collegiate Jazz Band in the Downbeat Awards, and placed first at the California Allegiance for Jazz State Championship. During this time, Daversa formed the John Daversa Small Band and re-established the John Daversa Progressive Big Band. Lively monthly residencies at local jazz venues such as the Baked Potato, the Blue Whale, and Seven Grand established the personnel and chemistry, not to mention an enthusiastic following, for both of these ensembles. The compositions created for these performances generated the material for Daversa’s next few albums, including Junk Wagon: The Big Band Album (2011) and Artful Joy (2012). Junk Wagon: The Big Band Album received several Global Music Awards, including Best in Show, Creativity/Originality and Album Production.

Throughout this period, Daversa was the musical director for the popular TV actress and singer Renee Olstead, touring internationally and appearing on television shows such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, Late Night with David Letterman, and the Today Show. He composed numerous commissions for various universities and chamber music organizations, and in recognition of his songwriting, won an IAMA Songwriting Award. As an active member of the Los Angeles musical milieu, he performed and/or recorded with Fiona Apple, Burt Bacharach, Dori Caymi, André Crouch, Dr. Dre, Herbie Hancock, the Bob Mintzer Big Band, Regina Spektor, and the Yellowjackets, and played on various television and films soundtracks including King of Queens, The Five-Year Engagement and Promised Land. He also had the unusual distinction of being the trumpet player behind the scenes on Key and Peele’s comedy episode “Overly Competitive Trumpeters.” In 2013 Daversa was offered a position as Chair of Studio Music and Jazz at the Frost School of Music, University of Miami. Relocating from Los Angeles to Miami and teaching at this vibrant school turned out to be a creative and musical triumph. Within his role as professor and chair, he has aimed to create a space for an inclusive environment, encouraging collaboration, imagination, creativity, and free thinking. Under Daversa’s direction, the Frost Concert Jazz Band was awarded winner of the Collegiate Division Best Large Jazz Ensemble from the Downbeat Awards and twice awarded the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival award. The Frost Concert Jazz Band has performed in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago and produced multiple original albums. In 2020, Daversa received the Frost Award for Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship. He was also honored by the The City of Miami Beach, which proclaimed February 23, 2020, “John Daversa Day”.

Since moving to Miami, Daversa has produced several noteworthy albums for both himself and other artists outside the realm of academia. In 2017 the John Daversa Big Band’s album, Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music of the Beatles garnered three Grammy nominations for Best Large Jazz Ensemble, Best Arrangement Instrumental, and Best Arrangement Vocals or A Cappella. In 2019, American Dreamers: Voices of Hope, Music of Freedom, a big band album featuring young DACA artists, won three Grammy awards for Best Large Jazz Ensemble, Best Arrangement Instrumental, and Best Improvised Solo.

In 2019 and 2020 Daversa was musical director and producer for two important projects spearheaded by women: in 2019, Daversa was musical director and co-producer for the album Shoulder to Shoulder: Centennial Tribute to Women’s Suffrage, by the Karrin Allyson Sextet. And in 2020, he musically directed, co-produced, and played on Regina Carter Freedom Band’s Swing States: Harmony in the Battleground. The same year, the John Daversa Quintet released Cuarentena: With Family at Home, an album of original and traditional Cuban boleros that paid homage to familial love and the healing power of music during the time of COVID, featuring musicians Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Carlo De Rosa, Dafnis Prieto, and Sammy Figueroa.

Daversa’s most recent project, All Without Words: Variations Inspired By Loren (release April 30, 2021) is a lush orchestral trumpet concerto played by the John Daversa Jazz Orchestra, composed by Daversa’s friend Justin Morell, and dedicated to Morell’s autistic son Loren. Celebrating the bond between a parent and child, the album is a paean to the trials, tribulations, successes and heart-warming moments of raising a non-verbal son.

Daversa is dedicated to creating meaningful, honest music with positive intention. Surely his work will continue to gain recognition and his brilliance as both musician and educator will continue to thrive and entertain, bringing benefit both to students and music lovers throughout the world.

John is a Schilke Music Artist (trumpet) and Berglund Artist (NuEVI).


Ian has performed and/or recorded around the world with musicians and groups such as Postmodern Jukebox, Bill Watrous, Conrad Herwig, Joey Defrancesco, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Arturo Sandoval, Bob Sheppard, Gary Foster, and Gene Cipriano.

He is a member of the electro/acoustic jazz fusion group Tritone Asylum in Los Angeles, the Rocky Mountain Jazz Collective in Montana, and is a regular at the famed Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles.

As an educator, Ian serves as adjunct faculty (Saxophone and Jazz Improvisation) at the Masters University and College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, CA a suburb of Los Angeles. He maintains a private studio of some of the best local young jazz saxohonists, and conducts improvisation workshops at several high schools in the Los Angeles area. Ian’s pedagogy and approach to education has been refined from over 20 years of experience teaching students — from elementary school age through college, and adulthood. His high-school students have received substantial scholarship offers to schools including the Berklee College of Music (full tuition), USC (almost full tuition and room&board), UCLA (partial), CSUN (partial), and CalArts (full tuition).

Other past projects include performing with Paris by Night, the Java Jazz Festival, the Rochester Jazz Festival, the NAMM show; and records such as the Steve Spiegel Big Band The LA Sessions at Capitol Studios, Tritone Asylum Hideaway Sessions, and Eddie Mitchell Big Band.

Ian holds an MFA in Jazz Reeds from the California Institute of Arts, and a BA in Music from the University of California Los Angeles.  During his formative years, he had the honor of studying with Kenny Burrell, Charlie Haden, Jeff Clayton, Joe LaBarbara, and Larry Koonse among others. He is a proud husband, father, and dog owner residing in Santa Clarita, CA.


Elana Hayden is a versatile and seasoned vocalist who has written, recorded, produced, and licensed numerous songs, jingles and voiceovers for TV, film, radio, and video. She has appeared and/or recorded with Bernard Purdie (Aretha Franklin), Liberty DeVitto (Billy Joel), Aaron Comess (Spin Doctors), Jon Herington (Steely Dan), and Richie Cannata (Billy Joel), to name a few, touring in the U.S. and abroad.

As a session singer, Elana recorded demos for Warner Chappell Music and was a member of several groups, both as a lead and background vocalist. She has enjoyed success with her debut album, “Carry You Home” and her voice and music can be heard on various forms of media across the globe.

A native New Yorker, Elana recently relocated from the Big Apple to Big Sky Country and now splits her time between New York and Montana. Elana is thrilled to be performing in fabulous venues around her new stomping ground both as a solo artist and with her band, “Elana Hayden & The Sugar Daddies.” She is beyond thrilled to perform with the Rocky Mountain Jazz Collective and is thankful to make music with some of Montana’s most accomplished musicians. Elana loves bringing her passion for music to audiences of all ages and her goal is to engage, educate, empower, enlighten, entertain, and enrich lives - through music!


Hailing from the vibrant city of Detroit, Michigan, Clark Stirgus is deeply rooted in the rich musical heritage of Motown. From an early age, he honed his vocal skills within the soulful realms of church and Gospel music. This profound foundation has shaped his journey as a vocalist, where he passionately equates music to art—both serving as the highest forms of self-expression. After relocating to Billings, Clark’s path intertwined with gifted musicians, leading to the creation of *Rhythm n Vibe*, an RnB cover band known for its soulful renditions and electrifying performances. Through each song, Clark aims to foster an emotional connection, moving audiences with his resonant voice and heartfelt delivery.

Beyond the stage, Clark Stirgus has built an impressive career marked by leadership, advocacy, and a steadfast commitment to justice. As the current Senior Director for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) at RiverStone Health, Clark orchestrates strategic initiatives to mitigate JEDI deficits and collaborates across departments to cultivate a welcoming and inclusive environment.

Color Me Groovy - Arc & Soul Funk


Montana native, Brooke Moncada, is thrilled to be performing with Rocky Mountain Jazz Collective for a second time. Considered a "swiss army knife" performer, Brooke is active in the Billings music scene and known for her wide range of genres and styles including featured performances with Billings Symphony, Rocky Mountain Jazz Collective, Montana Public Radio, Glacier Symphony, Rimrock Opera, MSUB Jazz Fest and Magic City Blues Festival to name a few favorites.

Brooke's favorite operatic credits include Countess Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, Königin der Nacht in Die Zauberflöte and Mercedes in Carmen. Her favorite musical theater roles include Ilse in Spring Awakening, Olive in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Rosalia in West Side Story -Concert Version with Billings Symphony.

Amongst other ensembles, she is also the lead vocalist in the nine-piece funk and soul band, "The Soul Funk Collective" - performing everything from Aretha Franklin and Chaka Khan to Parliament Funkadelic and Earth, Wind and Fire.

Brooke received her BA in Vocal Performance from MSU-B and is a certified Evidence-Based Voicework teacher with a private voice studio in Billings, MT.




Joe & Betty Roy