Musician, storyteller, and teacher, Jeff McQuillan resides in the heart of Connecticut where the winters are ice cold and the summers are coveted, where the river runs deep and the apples are plentiful.
From September to June you will find Jeff tending to his flock of 125+ students ranging in age from 12 to 19 years old. In 2013 Jeff was named Artist Instructor of the Year by The Greater Hartford Arts Academy, a nationally recognized arts school. That same year he received an award from the Connecticut Board of Education for community service work. Jeff was named Connecticut State Troubadour in 1998. He has received numerous grants from local and state arts agencies. In 2009 he received the SURDNA foundation award, traveling to Ghana, West Africa where he studied traditional drumming, singing and storytelling.
Jeff has been performing for children and families for four decades as a musician, storyteller and dancer. He works in schools, universities, museums, libraries, day care centers, festivals and more. From 1986-98 Jeff recorded several LP’s with folksinger Phil Rosenthal on American Melody Records. Jeff has recorded music, videos and has done consulting work for Scholastic, MacMillan-Hill and Silver-Burdett publishing companies. His latest children’s CD ‘Long River’ is available on CD Baby, iTunes, Spotify and Apple music. Jeff performs regularly with pianist Terrance Shider.
Jeff’s performances include Arts and Ideas (New Haven), Jonesboro Tennessee Storytelling Festival, Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival, Nuits du Afrique (Montreal), la Foret Hotel (Tokyo), Sounds of Brazil (NYC) and National Magnet Schools. Jeff writes and performs music for Capitol Classics Shakespeare Company in Hartford, CT. He produced two major summer concerts in 2018 and 2019 which included 22 musicians and dancers.
Jeff is co-founder of the Latin Jazz orchestra, Mikata, which performs in concert and dance venues throughout the northeast. Their CDs, ‘Ayer y Hoy’ (2015) and ‘Live and Kickin’ (2016), have enjoyed great success on radio stations and on the internet. Mikata received the New Haven Arts Council Award, “Opening Heart, Opening Minds” in 1999 and the Latin Music Award from Hispanic Performance Network in 2009. In 1986 Mikata performed in concert with the legendary folk singer Pete Seegar and toured in Japan. Mikata’s music and videos have aired on BET, MTV, Japanese television, and by DJs, worldwide. Jeff is also the musical director for The Okwy Osadebe Highlife Band, a twelve-piece Nigerian orchestra.
Whether you see Jeff on stage at Mohegan Sun Casino, telling a story in an auditorium filled with families, in concert with his many students, at a festival with his Nigerian band or on the dancefloor of a local nightclub you can bet that he will be moving to the rhythms that drive his spirit and keep him forever young at heart. WEPA!
Jeffry D. McQuillan
Middletown, CT, USA