Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra

Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra 2013-14

The Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra (CYJO) provides opportunities for talented high school age musicians to further their experience in America’s classical music – jazz. Comprised of premier players in grades 9-12 from central Ohio and beyond, the CYJO has a 30-week season during the school year, and performs at the Southern Theatre prior to each of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra’s Sunday matinee concerts. The ensemble also accepts a limited number of additional performance opportunities throughout the year as the schedule allows. The CYJO plays literature of the highest level with repertoire from the libraries of the great big bands, including Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Woody Herman, Oliver Nelson, Benny Goodman and Dizzy Gillespie. The CYJO is open to saxophone, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, piano, bass, guitar, drums and vocals on a limited basis.

Rehearsals are on Sunday afternoons, 4:00-6:00 p.m., at the Jazz Academy, 769 East Long Street in the Lincoln Theatre complex.

2014-15 Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra members:


  • Logan Moore, Hilliard Davidson High School
  • Billy Pierce, Darby High School
  • Jake Smith, Grove City High School
  • Seth Johnson, Dublin Scioto High School
  • Matt Abbott, Dublin Coffman High School


  • Tyler Finnegan, Watkins Memorial High School
  • Taj Jackson, Fort Hayes High School
  • Colin Babcock, Pickerington Central High School
  • Mason Illig, Gahanna Lincoln High School


  • Mitchell Parton, Westerville Central High School
  • Spencer Ward, St. Charles Preparatory School
  • Cole Southworth, Dublin Jerome High School
  • Corrin Moss, Columbus Alternative High School
  • Clayton Peacock, Columbus Alternative High School

Rhythm Section:

  • Micah Thomas, Piano, Westerville South High School
  • Robert Gooch, Guitar, Dublin Jerome High School
  • Jailynn Lake-Noel, Bass, Gahanna Lincoln High School
  • Nick Weber, Percussion, Olentangy High School
  • Rhys Washington, Drum Set, Fort Hayes Career Center/The Graham School

Director Mark Donavan

Director: Mark Donavan

Mark Donavan’s broad classroom teaching background and extensive performance resume create an environment that brings the best out of the young musicians he works with. He has launched two central Ohio youth jazz bands: the Columbus Youth Jazz Workshop and the Columbus City Schools Jazz All-Stars. Both groups have brought together students from a variety of backgrounds and have inspired young people to study music in college and to play professionally. Donavan performs in the central Ohio area as a saxophonist and pianist and has appeared on stage with many regional and national acts. His professional writing credits include the Columbus City School district’s music curriculum and a jazz survey course for online learning. Mark is currently the instrumental music director at Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School, where he serves as the Arts Department Chairperson.