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Since the 1960s, the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival has brought jazz masters to University of Idaho with elementary, junior high, high school and college students to share and celebrate a truly American art form. The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival has grown from a one-day event to an amazing three-day experience!

The first University of Idaho Jazz Festival took place in 1967, with a dozen student groups and one guest artist. The festival continued to grow from there — erupting onto the national stage in 1982, when thousands of students and spectators came to hear Ella Fitzgerald.

In 1984, the festival’s most important relationship began when Lionel Hampton joined the excitement in Moscow. Inspired by the enthusiasm of the students, Hamp pledged his support to the festival and, in 1985, the festival was renamed in his honor.

Now, having hosted thousands of students, spectators and artists — including Doc Severinsen, Bobby McFerrin, Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, The Manhattan Transfer, and countless musicians from around the world – the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival is three outstanding days of student performances, workshops, clinics and remarkable world-class evening concerts.

As the Festival enters its fifth decade, it will continue to further Hamp's vision and legacy for perpetuating jazz music education for generations to come.

Over the last five decades, the jazz festival at the University of Idaho has been led by a handful of committed directors. But there’s one man who is credited with transforming the event into the nationally known tradition it has become today: Doc Skinner.

Lynn “Doc” Skinner has been part of the jazz festival since he arrived in Moscow in the early ’70s as the director of music education at the university. He became festival director in 1976, and in 1984, Skinner invited Lionel Hampton to the festival. The pair of musicians bonded over a passion for jazz and a shared dream to keep the art form alive and well through youth education. The two formed a partnership and friendship that infused the festival with an inspiring energy and a renewed focus on educating the next generation of jazz musicians. Skinner served as executive director of the festival — which was renamed in Hamp’s honor in 1985 — until he retired in 2007. During his tenure as executive director of the festival, he brought some of the world’s greatest jazz artists to Moscow. In addition to Lionel Hampton, headliners included Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Toots Thielemans, Ray Brown and Sarah Vaughan.

Thanks to Skinner’s efforts, the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival received the National Medal of Arts in 2007. In 2010, his impact on music education was recognized with the Governor’s Awards in the Arts for Support of Arts Education from Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter.

Still a resident of Moscow, Doc Skinner continues to share his passion of jazz by teaching and attending the festival each year.

Lynn “Doc” Skinner and Lionel Hampton

In this photo from Special Collections and Archives at the University of Idaho Library, Lynn “Doc” Skinner and Lionel Hampton pose for a picture in 1990.

As the nation honored jazz great Lionel Hampton during his centennial birth year in 2008, the White House gave accolades to Hampton’s jazz and education legacy – a legacy that endures in the seemingly unlikely locale of Moscow, Idaho. The University of Idaho Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival received the National Medal of Arts, the nation’s most prestigious arts award, from President George W. Bush.

Former university President Timothy P. White and festival Artistic Director John Clayton accepted the medal in a White House ceremony.

“This recognition affirms the vision shared by Lionel Hampton and the university about the power of jazz and education to bridge cultures, inspire creativity and develop the musical leadership abilities of the next generation of jazz leaders,” White said.

Hampton envisioned more than an annual gathering of the world's top jazz musicians in the heart of winter in a small university town. He had a bigger dream — investing in future generations to perpetuate jazz as an art form and providing young students with a great introduction to a uniquely American style of music.

In 1985, the festival was renamed the Lionel Hampton/Chevron Festival in his honor, and rededicated as the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in 2006. Hampton died in 2002 at age 94.

The Jazz in the Schools program began in 1995. The program takes visiting musicians to elementary schools in northern Idaho and Eastern Washington to introduce students to this truly American art form. Forty-two schools participated in the 2015 Jazz in the Schools program, reaching over 9,000 K-12 students during the week of the festival.

To get an idea of the scope and vitality of the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, research these most recent official program guides or visit the International Jazz Collections in University of Idaho's Library for materials from the festival’s past dating back to the late 1960’s. The IJC is the preeminent jazz archive in the Pacific Northwest and features archival materials from the estates of Lionel Hampton, Pete and Conte Candoli, Al Grey, Ray Brown, Leonard Feather, Dizzy Gillespie and many more.

Our People

Navin Chettri

Manager, Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival & ACMS; Lecturer of Music; Artistic Director of World Music Celebration

Class Annex 11 C


Vanessa Sielert

Professor of Music; Education Advisor, Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival

308 Music


Vern Sielert

Professor, Trumpet and Director of Jazz Studies, Artistic Director: Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival

Music 304


Monica Evans

Music Events Operations Coordinator

Monica Evans

CLASS Annex 11 A


Monica Evans is the Music Events Operations Coordinator at the Lionel Hampton School of Music. She supports the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival and Auditorium Chamber Music Series through event planning and coordinating, marketing, data management, and providing general production assistance. Her background includes structural engineering, humanitarian projects, and musical theatre.

Monica received her Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a minor in Art and Architecture from the University of Idaho in 2018. As a student, she played an integral role in the U of I chapter of Engineers Without Borders - including facilitating the group’s transition to their own student-led non-profit organization, the Humanitarian Engineering Corps. She served in officer positions for four years, planned and coordinated events, designed the new logo, and traveled twice to Bolivia as part of the construction team for a sanitary water project in a remote Andean community.

Evans continued her engineering career at Keller Associates in Clarkston, WA. She gained experience managing projects and performing structural analysis and design for municipal and private clients. She also served on multiple committees focused on mentoring, development, DE&I, and event planning. Monica passed the Professional Engineering exam in structural engineering in the fall of 2021.

In her spare time, Monica enjoys taking part in local musical theatre productions. Her previous credits include “Amélie” (Amélie) at the University of Idaho; the Lewiston Civic Theatre's "School of Rock” (Rosalie Mullins), “Grease" (Sandy), “Elf the Musical” (Jovie), and "Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella" (Cinderella); and “Guys & Dolls" (Adelaide), "Company" (Jenny), and "She Loves Me" (Ilona Ritter) at the Regional Theatre of the Palouse. She has also been on production teams in many capacities including marketing, fundraising, stage managing, and costuming. She continues to volunteer hundreds of hours in community theatre each year and studies voice with Christian Reed.

In 2023, Monica returned to her alma mater to join the LHSOM team. She lives in Moscow, Idaho with her husband and collaborative pianist, Stuart.

Corporate Sponsors

Equipment Sponsors

Festival Partners

World Music Celebration Supporters

Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival

Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival

Mailing Address:
Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival
875 Perimeter Dr., MS 4021
Moscow, ID 83844-4021

Phone: 208-885-5900

Fax: 208-885-7254


Web: Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival