Rich Medd, a native of Moline, IL, has been a trombonist and music educator in the state of Iowa since 1983. When Rich was a senior at Moline High School, he was selected as one of two students to represent Illinois in the McDonald’s All-American Marching Band and Jazz Band in 1982. He played lead trombone in the McDonald’s Jazz band, along with fellow members Delfayo Marsalis, Tony Kadlek, Sal Crocker and John Medeski. After graduating from high school, Rich attended The University of Iowa. At Iowa, he performed with Johnson County Landmark, and started performing for various touring shows, circuses, ice shows and dance gigs throughout Iowa and Illinois. During his freshman year, he was selected to play lead trombone in the 1984 Disneyland All-American College Marching Band, along with fellow trombonist Dean Sorenson, saxophonist Dave Pietro and Broadway conductor AnnBritt DuChateau.
After graduating from Iowa in December of 1987, Rich accepted a job teaching in Preston, IA and married his wife Stacey in December, 1988. Their son Gabe was born in 1991. Since that time, Rich has taught High School band in Williamsburg and Clinton, Iowa. In 1995, he began teaching at his current position at West High School in Iowa City. The West High Band Program includes 4 concert bands, three jazz bands, two marching bands, pep band, and several small chamber and jazz ensembles. He directs the West High School Symphonic Band, Varsity Band, Jazz Ensemble, Varsity Jazz Band and co-directs the Marching Band and Pep Bands at West. At West High, he established the Jazz Café, which brings in jazz musicians from New York City and Chicago to work and perform with West High Jazz musicians.
Under his direction, The West High School Jazz Ensemble has qualified for the Class 4A Iowa Jazz Championships every year since 1996. Also under his direction, The Williamsburg High School Concert Band performed at the Iowa Bandmasters Association Convention in 1991, and the West High Jazz Ensemble performed at the IBA convention in 2013. Rich continues to serve as a jazz band clinician and judge in Iowa and Illinois. He is past-president of the Iowa Unit of the International Association of Jazz Educators. He has also been on the staff of The University of Iowa Jazz Camp for the last twelve years, and has served as the trombone clinician for the UNI Jazz Combo Camp. Iowa City West High School hosted the SEIBA Jazz Festival from 1993 to 2020. He served as the SEIBA Jazz Chair for many years.
Rich performs as a trombonist throughout Iowa and Illinois. He is 21 year veteran of Orquesta de Jazz y Salsa Alto Maiz. He also performs with Mike Conrad’s Iowa Jazz Composers Orchestra, James Dreier’s Ritmocano, The Rod Pierson Big Band, Chris Merz's X-tet, Bob Washut’s Dream Band, I-380 Express Big Band and Three Dogs and a Bone with Guitarist Steve Grismore and Percussionist Jim Dreier. He has performed as a guest soloist with The University of Iowa Latin Jazz Ensemble, UNI Jazz One, the UI Jazz Repertory Ensemble, The Cedar Rapids Jefferson High School Jazz Band, The Cedar Rapids Prairie High School Jazz Band, The Lisbon High School Jazz Band, and the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band. He also performs for shows, musicals and various touring companies. He has recently performed in groups with jazz artists Matt Wilson, Carmen Bradford, Kevin Mahogany, Aretha Franklin, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, and Ray Charles. He has also performed in the pit orchestras for the touring companies of the Book of Mormon, Sound of Music, Ragtime, The Full Monty and My Fair Lady at Hancher Auditorium. He has also played in the horn sections for The Mid-Town Men, Under the Streetlight, The Moody Blues, The Temptations, Wayne Newton, Johnny Mathis, Natalie Cole and John Pizzarelli. He has worked as a musician at Disneyland in California and at Opryland in Nashville. He toured Europe in July 1998 and the West Coast in July 2002 with Alto Maiz. Alto Maiz also performed at the prestigious Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago in December 2004. His wife Stacey is a kindergarten teacher in the Iowa City School District. Their son, Gabriel, graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Jazz Trumpet from The Juilliard School. He is a professional trumpet player based in Brooklyn, NY.
After teaching High School band in the state of Iowa for the last 34 years, with 27 years at Iowa City West, Rich will be “retiring” at the end of the school year.