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Founded in 1976, the annual Iowa Jazz Championships event showcases 60 of the state's finest high school jazz ensembles, featuring 15 groups from each of the four Iowa high school classifications. All ensembles perform in the daytime preliminary competition, and the top two bands from each classification perform in the evening finals competition. The event is held at the Iowa State Center, with 4A bands in Stephens Auditorium, 1A bands in Fisher Theater, and 2A and 3A bands in the Scheman Building.


Info coming soon!

Performance Locations

  • Classes 1A, 2A, and 3A (daytime): Scheman Building at the Iowa State University campus

  • Class 4A (daytime): Stephens Auditorium at the Iowa State University campus

  • Evening finals: Stephens Auditorium at the Iowa State University campus

Hotel Information
Coming Soon!

Invitations & Eligibility

All Iowa high school jazz programs are eligible for an invitation to the Iowa Jazz Championships.  Automatic invitations are issued to the first and second place bands in each class of the six district jazz festivals.  In districts where there are only two bands in a class, only the first place band is issued an automatic invitation.  In districts where only one band competes in a class, that band is issued an automatic invitation.  Each district is empowered with operating their own district jazz festival to determine automatic qualifiers.


Wild card invitations are determined by the Iowa Jazz Championships Board of Directors every March. Bands become eligible for a wild card invitation by doing one of the following:

  1. Beat a band that is an automatic qualifier at an independent jazz festival in Iowa.

  2. Win an independent jazz festival in Iowa with at least two bands from Iowa in that class.

  3. Finish 3rd in a district jazz festival with at least four bands entered.


There are typically three wild card invitations issued per class (12 automatic qualifying bands plus 3 wild card bands for a total of 15 bands in each class).  If a class has fewer than 12 automatic qualifying bands, additional wild card invitations may be issued.  


There is no system of points for determining wild card invitations. The Board of Directors of the Iowa Jazz Championships selects the most qualified bands based on results from all submitted jazz festivals. The Board pays especially close attention to how wild card-eligible bands placed when competing against one another and whether or not wild card-eligible bands placed behind non-automatic qualifiers or wild-card eligible bands.

Future Championships Dates:

Tuesday, April 8, 2025
Tuesday, April 7, 2026
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