Deep Dish Music Festival


Columbia College Chicago hosts an all-day invitational music festival for high school and community college ensembles to celebrate and cultivate their unique musical talents. Growing out of the Contemporary, Jazz, and Popular Music programs, this festival is designed specifically for ensembles who perform pop, jazz, R&B, hip-hop, rock, gospel, blues, and Latin music.

The festival includes:

  • Performances of high school and community college ensembles adjudicated by Columbia faculty
  • Workshops led by Chicago music professionals on topics such as music technology, music business, and music theory specific to contemporary, jazz, and popular music
  • Master Classes with Morris Hayes
  • A concert featuring Columbia's Jazz Ensemble directed by Scott Hall and the R&B Ensemble: Showcase directed by Cassandra O’Neal performing with Morris Hayes
  • A special performance by Columbia's Fusion Ensemble directed by Bill Boris
  • And of course, plenty of Lou Malnati's pizza!

Renowned keyboardist and producer Morris Hayes will adjudicate, perform, and lead a workshop for festival attendees.


Morris Hayes got his big break in 1991 when Jerome Benton asked him to play keyboards with the Time. At the end of the tour, Morris formed a band called “G Sharp and the Edge,” which became the house band for Prince’s new nightclub, the “Glam Slam” in Minneapolis.  Prince was so impressed that he asked the band to play with Carmen Electra as the opening act for his 1992 “Diamonds and Pearls” tour. In addition to one of his most memorable performances when he played at the historic Super Bowl half-time show with Prince and the New Power Generation in 2007, Morris was the Musical Director for the official Prince tribute concert in Minnesota in October 2016, following the passing of his friend and musical mentor. Following that event, a number of his former bandmates in the original configuration of the New Power Generation reunited to work together again.  They have since performed all over the world – including headlining performances at the Montreux Jazz Festival, British Summer Time, Bluesfest in Australia, North Sea Jazz Festival and in the fall of 2021, will embark on their first major U.S. tour.


  • Application and Fees

    These are costs for the 2023 festival. Prices include participation in the day’s events, including adjudication of submissions, workshops, master class, and all performances.

    • 1 – 9 ensemble members: $200• 10 – 15 ensemble members: $300• 16 – 25 Ensemble Members: $400

    Some scholarships are available! Please indicate whether you'd like to be considered for a scholarship on your application.

    Deep Dish Music Festival 2024 Application

  • About the Music Department

    Columbia College Chicago's Music Department focuses on contemporary, urban, jazz and popular music, and the creation of original musical work for the stage, screen and beyond. In core classes, students learn theory, composition, improvisation, arranging, technology, history, analysis, and aural skills. Instrumental, vocal, and composition private lessons complete the curriculum, designed to prepare students for collaborative music-making experiences in ensembles that play a variety of styles and genres, including the performance of original student generated songs, compositions, and productions.

    Learn more about Music at Columbia.

Friday, March 8, 2024
Columbia College Chicago Music Center 


  Questions? Contact   


Thank you to our Deep Dish Music Festival sponsors:

James E. Kopp, Jr. and Marilyn Kopp