JSU held its fifth annual Jazz Festival Friday at Leone Cole Auditorium, TMB Auditorium and Mason Hall Performance Center on Friday, April 8.

The David L. Walters Department of Music sponsored the event. The festival featured four jazz bands, six combos and a Latin Ensemble.

Guest Roger Ingram, who is a trumpet player, author and teacher, met with students to discuss his career as a professional musician. Ingram offered his advice on everything from life decisions to hitting the higher notes on the trumpet without killing them.

He recounted growing up in Los Angeles and annoying his neighbors by practicing his trumpet playing in the backyard for up to six hours everyday. Ingram started touring with jazz bands when he was 16-years-old.

He said he spent over 30 years of his life living in hotel rooms and traveling with bands.

“Those of you who are studying Music in school need to stick to it, and don’t forget why you started with music in the first place. Don’t become so caught up in making ends meet that you don’t give yourself time to work on your own creativity,” Ingram said.

He now makes his own mouth pieces and designing professional trumpets. Ingram published his textbook “Clinical Notes on Trumpet Playing” in 2008. He also offers Skype lessons on his website RogerIngram.com. Ingram finished up his speech with a concert featuring the JSU Jazz Ensemble I.

Performances featured Hoover High School “Hoover Jam”, Albertville High School Jazz Ensemble, Hoover High School “JB3,” Bob Jones High School I, Bob Jones High School II, Grissom High School “A,” Grissom High School “B” and Jacksonville High School.

Also performing were JSU Jazz Ensemble I,II, III and IV, Gadsden State Show Band, JSU Latin Ensemble, Enghauser Combo 1, 2 and 3, Carter Combo, Nelson Combo, Northeast Alabama Community College Mustang Little Big Band, and Northeast Alabama Community College Jazz Ensemble.

The festival also offered many different clinics for the students in attendance. Mart Avant, Sallie White and Michael Brothers each gave their clinics in the Leone Cole Auditorium.

Avant is a freelance trumpet/flugelhorn player and a principal contractor for the Tuscaloosa Horns. White teaches music theory at Hoover High School along with teaching the school’s first edition Jazz Band and Symphonic Band.

Brothers is the CEO and founder of a record label based in New Orleans and has degrees from Northwestern University and Loyola University in Percussion Performance.

Matt Leder, Larry Panella, and Chris Kozak ran clinics in the TMB Auditorium. Leder is currently a music director at Gadsden State Community College, and has performed as a guest artist all over the United States.

Panella is an associate professor of music at The University of South Alabama. He is also the director of the jazz studies program and founder of the USM Jazz Quintet. Kozak received degrees from the University of Massachusetts and is currently associate professor and director of jazz studies at the University of Alabama.

Steven Roberts, John David, and Rob Opitz each held clinics in the Mason Hall Performance center. Steven Roberts’ group “The Roberts Jazz Project” just released an album called Let’s Fall in Love.

Dr. Roberts is also associate professor of Jazz studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. John David is at Berry College as the Director of Jazz and Percussion Studies. David is the director of the Berry Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo, Percussion Ensemble, and the Viking Drumline.

Rob Opitz graduated from Northern Illinois University and earned his Masters of Music Education at Reinhardt University where he is now director of wind ensemble, director of athletic bands, director of jazz, and trumpet instructor.

Members of JSU faculty also ran clinics. Dr. Tony McClutchen, Dr. Andy Nevala, and Ben Weatherford held the rhythm section clinic. The brass clinic featured Dr. Chris Probst and Dr. Dave Lambert. Kenyon Carter gave the sax clinic.

Lori Speakman
Staff Reporter

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