About Us

Our Mission

The New Mexico Jazz Workshop is a professional organization committed to providing unlimited access to a higher quality of life through education and performance.  The New Mexico Jazz Workshop uses educational programs and performance to connect the community with the essence of jazz—creating a more empowered and vibrant community.


Our History

The New Mexico Jazz Workshop (NMJW) was formed on February 12, 1976 when a group of jazz musicians came together to begin a jazz co-operative that was free to perform anywhere. By the end of the 1970’s NMJW began bringing international jazz artists to the KiMo Theatre. The organization moved from Santa Fe to Albuquerque in August, 1979. During the 1980’s, NMJW expanded its Guest Artist series to bring more national and international artists to New Mexico while the Madrid Concert Series continued to spotlight local musicians with 4 or 5 concerts per summer.

The 1990’s created more opportunity for local musicians with the Summer Music Festival which includes Salsa Under the Stars on Friday nights, Jazz Under the Stars on Saturday nights, and Blues Under the Stars throughout the summer. The first annual Women’s Voices, a festival of jazz, blues and gospel was held Saturday, June 12, 1993 at the Rio Grande Zoo.

Salsa, Jazz and Blues Under the Stars continue to draw record numbers at the Albuquerque Museum Amphitheatre. As the organization embarks on its 48th year, NMJW continues to reach out and connect with thousands of students each year with its Roots of Jazz program, Honor BandSouth Valley Band ProjectJazz Camp, Digital Technology Project, and Adult Education classes.

Board Members


Joanie Griffin, NMJW Board President

Joanie Griffin, NMJW Board President, is the founder and CEO of Sunny505, one of New Mexico's largest advertising and communications firms. She is passionate about economic development and helping New Mexico thrive. In addition to the New Mexico Jazz Workshop she serves on the board of directors of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and the New Mexico Holocaust Museum and Gellert Center for Intolerance. She also serves in an advisory capacity for the Albuquerque Regional Economic Alliance and the Albuquerque Film & Music Experience. Joanie received a Bachelor's of Science in Journalism from the University of Colorado.


Donald Dentler, NMJW Board Treasurer

Donald Dentler, NMJW Board Treasurer, Don has held a number of mid-level to senior Accounting, Finance and Management positions in several states before exploring retirement in Albuquerque, NM. A lifelong fan of music and live music in particular; Don has been a volunteer helping other non-profit organizations, bands and musicians for over fifty years. Plus he has been involved with a New Mexico renewable energy non-profit for over 14 years; currently as CFO. Education includes: Master of Business Administration (Finance), Bachelor Business Administration (Management and Marketing).

Larry Donahue, NMJW Board Secretary

Owner of Law 4 Small Business (L4SB) and Business Law Southwest (BLSW)


Shelly Cherrin

Shelly Cherrinis a retired educator who continues to consult with districts/schools all over New
Mexico. As a former school leader who has started and run charter schools, she has seen the
positive effect that the arts have had on both student involvement and achievement in all
grades. She is also a former board member of the NMJZZ, and has been a long-time supporter
of the workshop and its mission.

Rhonda Cordova

Bio and photo coming

Clarence Hughes

Bio and photo coming

Monica Aguilar

Retired Educator, Educational Consultant

Gregory Bright

 Data Base Marketing Manager; Sandia Casino

Michael Keith

Owner/president of Musicality LLC – Music Store and Lesson Studios. Bio and photo coming.

Miriam Ray

Bio and photo coming


Steven Seifert, MD

In Memory of Steven Seifert, who served on the NMJW  Board 2015-2022. New Mexico Jazz Workshop Board member since 2015, serving on the Executive Committee and the Hiring Committee. He is a Professor at UNM School of Medicine and the medical director of the New Mexico Poison Center. He has served on a number of non-profit Boards, including the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault and the North American Society of Toxinology. He has been involved with the jazz scene in Albuquerque since his arrival in 2007. He is a supporter of jazz throughout the city, region, and country and also regularly performs locally.

The New Mexico Jazz Workshop Board of Directors meets the fourth Thursday of every month. Please contact the NMJW office for more information: 505-255-9798

Our Staff

Red or Green? Must I choose?!
Go-to comfort food? Toast and jam
Hometown? Las Vegas, NM
Favorite karaoke? Never done karaoke
A favorite musician? Ray Lamontagne
Dream job as a kid? Chef
If you could have lunch with anyone (living or not), who would it be? Warren buffet/alive; my maternal grandparents/not living
What’s a skill you’d like to learn? To sing!
What’s one of your non-music talents? Award-winning Chef and Cateress for over 30 years

Born to a ranching family in the mountains of northern New Mexico, Mia was raised in El Porvenier and later in Santa Fe where the beginnings of her first career as a culinarian took shape. After graduation from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Mia established a catering company in the Denver/Boulder area. A return to New Mexico brought expansion to her career as an award-winning chef with Until We Eat Again Catering.

Living back in NM allowed Mia to foster her heart’s true passion of service to others and began volunteering with more than 10 area non-profit organizations. Soon thereafter, Mia was elected as president of the Board of directors at the National Association of Women Business Owners, Roadrunner Food Bank, The Barrett House Foundation, and New Futures School. Her pivot from entrepreneurship to leadership in non-profits occurred during the Pandemic after a period of gratifying, self-reflection. A chance to interview with the New Mexico Jazz Workshop happened in the fall of 2021 and now Mia is leading a dynamic staff dedicated to enhancing the lives of our Albuquerque community through a mission of live performance, through education and service to underserved youth.

This quote perfectly describes the privilege Mia feels at the helm of the Workshop: “Music, once admitted to the soul, becomes a sort of spirit, and never dies.”


Maud has been an NMJW staff member since 2005. Her work experience with the organization includes a five-year tenure as NMJW Executive Director from 2009 through 2014, when she stepped down from leadership to work part time at the organization to pursue other interests. Her current duties for NMJW include grant writing, bookkeeping, Adult Education curriculum design, and "Under the Stars" program support. Maud holds a degree from the University of New Mexico in History and French and has been a professional musician for over thirty years. She plays bass for several popular Albuquerque bands and does occasional teaching as well.

Red or Green? Christmas, leaning green
Go-to comfort food? Pho, boba
Hometown? Laramie, WY
Favorite karaoke? Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden) / Cry Me a River (Julie London) / Somebody to Love (Jefferson Airplane)
A favorite musician? Opeth
Dream job as a kid? Mermaid lawyer slash marine biologist
If you could have lunch with anyone (living or not), who would it be? Richard Feynman
What’s a skill you’d like to learn? Bass guitar, surfing!
What’s one of your non-music talents? I’m shockingly good at parallel parking.

Mara Starr-Newman joined the NMJW in November, after working since 2015 as a postsecondary humanities and language instructor. Mara started performing at a young age, which helped instill a lifelong passion for music. They have been involved in community choruses in Wyoming, Seattle and Colorado. Currently, Mara serves as a board member for the Colorado Hebrew Chorale in Denver.

Being able to use her entire professional background to help people of all ages from New Mexico access music instruction and performance is a dream come true.



Pete Amahl - Musician
Hannah Best - Former Board Member; Hannah Best & Associates
Joe Gabel - Past NMJW Board President, Serafian's Oriental Rugs
Joanie Griffin - Past NMJW Board President, Griffin & Associates
George Koinis - Past NMJW Board President
Glenn Kostur - Former Board Member; University of New Mexico, Director of Jazz Studies
Bobby Shew - Musician
Michael Anthony - Musician
Larry Schwartz - Past NMJW President, Wells Fargo Advisors