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.



Dr. Justin Binek*

(*Friday only)


Justin Binek is an internationally recognized jazz and classical singer, pianist, and clinician/adjudicator. He is a prolific arranger and composer whose works have been published by Sound Music Publications and Kerry Marsh Music. A contributing author to Diana Spradling’s groundbreaking book, Jazz Singing: Developing Artistry and Authenticity, Justin has presented, directed, and performed many times at JEN, IAJE, and ISME Conferences. Justin is currently an at-large member of the NAfME Council for Jazz Education, and he has served on the boards of Pennsylvania-ACDA and the New Jersey Association for Jazz Education. Justin was a guest artist/clinician at the 2013 and 2016 Standard Bank (South Africa) National Youth Jazz Festivals, he served as the director of the New Jersey Honors Jazz Choir from 2007 to 2013, and he has directed numerous other state- and region-level honors choirs. Justin is also a featured in-app clinician on Michele Weir's ScatAbility app for iOS. His published scholarly works include his 2017 dissertation, "The evolution of Ella Fitzgerald's syllabic choices in scat singing: a critical analysis of her Decca recordings, 1943-1952," and the original song "Oote" and the accompanying analysis, "Jan Hanlo's Oote and Jazz Music: A Compositional Journey," published in Ode aan Oote (Uitgelezen Boeken, 2016).

Justin currently serves on the faculty of Kansas City Kansas Community College as an Assistant Professor of Music specializing in Music Theory and Jazz Improvisation. He also serves on the faculties of the Halewynstichting Jazz Workshop in Dworp, Belgium, and the ProMusic Summer Camp in Tiffin, OH. Justin received a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Performance with a Jazz Studies emphasis from the University of North Texas in 2017. Justin previously held faculty positions at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, and at the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND. Under his direction, the UArts Jazz Singers performed at the 2008 ISME World Conference; his UArts ensembles also gave feature performances at the Berks Jazz Festival, Ohio Jazz Summit, and DMEA, NJMEA, and ACDA-PA Conferences. At U-Mary, his Concert Choir and Chamber Choir were prominently featured in the Public Television documentary “A Soulful Sound: The Music of the Germans from Russia.” Justin earned a Master’s Degree in Voice Performance from Western Michigan University, and Bachelor’s Degrees in Music Education, Saxophone Performance, and Voice Performance from the University of Mary.



Tommy Boynton*

(*Saturday only)


Singing 1st tenor and playing bass in the legendary vocal jazz ensemble The Four Freshmen, Tommy grew up in Aurora, Colorado. His musical journey began in the 3rd grade, singing in a children’s chorus, and studying piano and drums. Tommy’s love for music lead him to Phil Mattson’s prestigious School for Music Vocations in Creston, Iowa. He then graduated from the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts in 2012, where he studied with Dominique Eade and Ran Blake. Boynton continued to share his love and passion for music by returning to SMV where he taught for the three years until he joined the Freshmen. Tommy has shared the stage with several Grammy nominated musicians, including jazz pianist Fred Hersch, and critically acclaimed jazz vocalist Kate McGarry. He is an avid soccer player and cyclist and has toured across the midwest and around the Pacific Northwest on his bicycle, and believes there is no better way to explore an area or the world than on a bicycle. He currently resides in Des Moines, IA. While on the road, he misses his kitties, Alice and Little Brother, more than anything.