Dr. Jeremy Fox

After graduating from The School for Music Vocations in 1996, Jeremy earned a B.M. degree in Piano Jazz Studies from Western Michigan University.  He later received his Masters degree in Studio Jazz Writing from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. He earned his D.M.A. in Jazz Composition (with an emphasis on jazz vocals) from the same university. From 2001-2010, Jeremy was one of the faculty at the School for Music Vocations, teaching theory, arranging, studio recording, and solo jazz literature. He directed various instrumental & choral ensembles and the vocal group, First Take.  Jeremy has received ten awards from Downbeat magazine, including ones for: Jazz Song, Jazz Arrangement, Studio Engineering, and for his vocal jazz group. Jeremy has several charts published with Sound Music Publications, UNC Jazz Press, and Foxtrot Publishing. He has written for such artists as: John Secada, Theo Bleckmann, m-pact, Terence Blanchard, and Metropolitan Opera singers Eric Owens and Denyce Graves. Twice in 2013, he conducted and was musical director for a concert of "Bossa Nova Sinfónico" with the Costa Rican National Orchestra and Brazilian singer Rose Max. He has also acted as the guest conductor for the famed Henry Mancini Institute Jazz Orchestra, based in Miami.

Jeremy was nominated for a Grammy award in 2015 for an arrangement from his album "With Love" (Jazzbill Records), which was released in 2014.  The album features big band and orchestral arrangements for a phenomenal line-up of singers, including Anders Edenroth (from The Real Group), Kevin Mahogany, Kate Reid, Kate McGarry, Derek Fawcett, Rose Max, Wendy Pedersen, Sunny Wilkinson, and Lauren Kinhan and Peter Eldridge (from the New York Voices). It is available on iTunes, Amazon, and other digital stores.  A physical copy of the CD can be ordered at

Jeremy leads the SMV Vocal Jazz Camps in Creston IA, Santa Cruz CA, and Winnipeg MB, and co-leads The Jazz Harmony Retreat, a camp for music educators.

Lucas Mattson

Lucas Mattson has taught at Southwestern Community College since 2001, becoming a vital part of the faculty. In 2009, he joined the full-time faculty at the school.  Before he began teaching in Creston, he received his Bachelors of Music in piano from the University of Northern Arizona.

As one of the full-time faculty at Southwestern, Lucas teaches classes in Vocal and Instrumental Arranging, Jazz Keyboard, Jazz Performance & Literature, and Baroque and 19th and 20th Century theory.  He has directed both instrumental and vocal groups at the college.  Lucas is active as a pianist, clinician and arranger, and tours each year with his vocal jazz group, Harmonic Convergence.  He also is the Assistant Director of the SMV Vocal Jazz Camps each summer.

Ryan Howe

After receiving his B.A. in Vocal Performance from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, Ryan studied at the School for Music Vocations for a year before joining the faculty in 2009. There, Ryan directed and toured with the Concert Choir, his vocal jazz ensemble, and several instrumental ensembles. Ryan also taught a wide variety of classes, ran the recording studio, and directed Fox Fest for four years, hosting such artists as the New York voices, Groove for Thought, The Four Freshmen, and Nancy King.

Ryan has worked extensively as a clinician and adjudicator throughout the midwest, and for the past seven summers, has served on the staff for the SMV Summer Vocal Jazz Workshop, teaching improvisation, and serving as head sound technician.  Ryan spent the last two years serving as a Teaching Fellow for the University of North Texas Vocal Jazz department while pursuing his Masters in Jazz Studies. This fall he returns to Creston to resume instruction at the School for Music Vocations.


John Knutson

John Knutson is Director of Choral Studies at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, California.  He is also a member of the professional vocal jazz ensemble, Vocalogy, formed by Phil Mattson in 1998.  John directed the California All-State Vocal Jazz Choir in 2006, and in May 2009 John was named Cuesta College's Teacher of the Year.  His ensembles have performed at the American Choral Directors Association National Convention, the Montreux Jazz Festival, and the International Association for Jazz Education Convention.  John holds a Masters in Conducting from Northern Arizona University and a Bachelors in Piano Performance from the University of Minnesota, and was both a student at the School for Music Vocations and later a teacher there.