Tag Archives: music

National, International Students March into TSU Summer Band Camp

Jesus Carmona, a trombone player from Sincelejo, Colombia, takes part in a band rehearsal during the Edward l. Graves Summer High School Summer Band Camp. Carmona is one of 90 students from around the country and South America taking part in the eight-day camp learning what it takes to be part of an elite university marching band. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)
Jesus Carmona, a trombone player from Sincelejo, Colombia, takes part in a band rehearsal during the Edward L. Graves High School Summer Band Camp. Carmona is one of 90 students from around the country and South America taking part in the eight-day camp learning what it takes to be part of an elite university marching band. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “Music is the universal language of mankind.” Just ask Jose Carmona, a music student from Sincelejo, Colombia with limited English skills, who traveled nearly 2,000 miles to attend a summer camp for musicians at Tennessee State University.

Carmona is one of 90 students from around the country and South America taking part in the Edward L. Graves Summer High School Band camp through June 28. The camp, now in its third year, is known for fostering musicianship and marching expertise in high-school students from 9th to 12th grade.

“That has been the hardest part of this camp,” said Carmona through a translator. “Aside from the marching and getting up early for practice, not understanding the language has been hard. But through the music and instruction, it has all come together.”

Jose Carmona
Jose Carmona

Carmona, who is here as a part of an exchange program with 16 other members of his university band, joins students from across the U.S. who have descended on the campus for eight days to learn what it takes to be part of an elite university marching band.

According to Dr. Reginald McDonald, acting Director of Bands, students from as far as Chicago, Atlanta, Kansas City, Kansas, and Memphis, Tennessee, have come to the University to learn the rigors of performing as a member of TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands and what it takes to be successful in today’s collegiate band programs.

“This is a great opportunity for high school students to be exposed to a university setting and our music program,” he said. “When they return to their high school, they will have the tools to be a productive member of their high-school marching band.”

Also, McDonald said, many students come to the camp as a stepping-stone once they graduate from high school to become a member of the Aristocrat of Bands.

Marcus Cooper, an alto saxophone player from Oxon Hill, Maryland, said his ultimate goal is to march and play in the University’s world-renown marching band.

“This is my second time attending this camp,” said the soon-to-be high school senior. “I love everything we are learning, from the marching style and breathing, to keeping up your tone and different music styles. It has made my decision easier to eventually attend TSU and be a member of the band.”

Laurie Ordonez
Laurie Ordonez

Laurie Ordonez, a junior from Kansas City, agreed, saying that the camp will prepare her not only for college, but also a larger role in her school band when she returns to her school in the fall. Along with playing the piccolo, she is also taking part in drum major training.

“I was told by our band director at my high school that this is some of the best musical and marching experience I could get, and it would prepare me for the next phase of my musical aspirations,” she said. “In the few short days I’ve been here I’ve been able to focus on playing with more confidence, memorize music quicker, and most importantly, play loud the TSU way and not sound sloppy.”

After eight days of early-morning workouts and grueling practices, the students will have the opportunity to show off what they have learned at the end of camp. They are scheduled to perform Friday, June 27, at the Edward L. Graves Retirement Gala, honoring his 34-year career as director of the Aristocrat of Bands.

The gala takes place at 7 p.m. in Kean Hall on the main campus. In addition to paying tribute to Professor Graves, the gala will launch the Edward L. Graves Scholarship Endowment that will provide scholarships to students participating in the TSU Band.

Family members will also have the opportunity to listen to the high school musicians during “The Showcase” concert Saturday, June 28 at the Gentry Center. The concert is free and open to the public.

“I’m proud of what these young students have been able to accomplish in just few days,” added McDonald. “They sound great, they’re talented, and have an excellent music foundation that will translate into their current programs and future endeavors.”

For more information about the Gala or Showcase, contact Michelle Allen, Band Office Manager, at 615.963.5350.

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Music Student’s Career Sets Sail on Smooth Jazz Cruise

Graduate student Jazmin Ghent wins “Opening Act Competition” and opens for Sirius/XM Hall of Fame concert    

 

Jazmin Ghent
Jazmin Ghent (courtesy photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The musical ship for one Tennessee State University student has set sail and is on course to take her to destinations unknown where she will have the opportunity to be a positive role model for young musicians and help define jazz music for years to come.

Jazmin Ghent, a graduate student studying music education at the University, was recently the winner of the Smooth Jazz Cruise 2014 “Opening Act Competition,” beating out 22 other contestants for the right to perform on the final night of the cruise in front of a packed house, and to interact with some of her musical idols, including jazz icons Brian Culbertson, Boney James and David Sanborn.

“The experience was life changing,” said the Huntsville, Ala., native. “I was able to interact and speak with many artists who I grew up listening to and admire.  I had a lesson with Kirk Whalum, and personally interacted with Peter White, Keiko Matsui, Marcus Miller, Candy Dulfer and Mindi Abair to name a few. It is something I will never forget.”

Born in Heidleberg, Germany and raised in Huntsville, Ghent grew up around music and began taking piano lessons at the age of 5. She became the Sunday school pianist at only 8 years old and often practiced with the adult musicians and church choir members. After being introduced to the saxophone in middle school, she progressed to becoming the church pianist and saxophonist. “Once I was in high school, I discovered my passion for performing and teaching,” she said. “I also began playing professionally in the Huntsville area.”

After high school and a long list of awards including the NAACP’s ACT-SO award, she received a full scholarship to Florida State University where she majored in instrumental music education and jazz studies. After graduation, Ghent’s parents gave her the cruise on the high seas as a gift that would send her competing against other musicians vying for the top spot in an “American Idol” type competition.

“My parents had been on this cruise before and told me about the competition,” Ghent said. “I’ve always loved jazz from a very young age and thought this was a great opportunity.”

Once onboard the “Greatest Party at Sea,” Ghent had to initially compete against 22 other contestants who played everything from saxophone, piano, drums, and trumpet, as well as vocalists. She concedes that it was a bit nerve-racking the first round since the audience was voting on the 12 that would move forward, but even worse during the second round.

“Not only was the audience voting in the second round, but also jazz greats Brian Culbertson, Boney James and Marcus Miller,” she added. “My stress level was extremely high during that round because now I was playing for the very icons I had grown up listening to. The nice thing was that everyone was very supportive and encouraging.”

Ghent won the competition and the right to play the final night for the Sirius/XM Jazz Hall of Fame concert in front of more than 1,900 fans. Nervous, she spoke with Culbertson who told her to have fun and enjoy herself.

“After his encouraging words, I felt more comfortable playing and the nervousness turned into pure excitement,” she said.

After being introduced by both Culbertson and James, she belted our her rendition of “Summertime” composed by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. Receiving a standing ovation, James commented that he predicts Ghent has a big future in the music business. He should know since he has four gold albums, four GRAMMY nominations, two NAACP Image Award nominations, and a Soul Train Music Award to his name, and sales totaling more than three million records.

“Wasn’t that awesome,” James told the audience. “That was very soulful. It is heartwarming to see a young person like that to get up here and play with such passion.”

Culbertson agreed with James, uttering a resounding, “Wow!”

“Jazz is not going away,” he commented. “Seeing people play like that…she is keeping it alive and that is a beautiful thing.”

Dr. Robert Elliott, head of the Music Department, agrees with both, and said that TSU has a history of producing jazz greats.

“Jazz, America’s art form, has been an important part of TSU since President Walter Davis recruited students to form the TSU Collegians,” said Elliott. “That group produced great jazz musicians such as Jimmy Blanton, who became Duke Ellington’s bass player, Hank Crawford, the music director for Ray Charles, and many others who went on to influence America’s music. Jazmin continues the record of excellence in performance that has come to be expected of TSU music students and we couldn’t be more proud of her.”

Now that the competition is over, Ghent plans to focus on completing her master’s degree at TSU, as well as continue to compose, record and perform new material.

“I would like to perform and teach on a collegiate level,” added Ghent. “I am very passionate about the future of music and the future of Jazz. I want to make sure I am a positive role model for young musicians.”

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Nashville Recording Academy Helps TSU Students Pursue Music Education

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Two music majors at Tennessee State University have received scholarship awards from The Recording Academy, helping them get one step closer to finishing their degrees.

Brian Allen
Brian Allen

Seniors Brian Allen and Mike Williams, both from Nashville, received scholarships from the Nashville Chapter of The Recording Academy in the amount of $850 each. They are two of eight students in the Nashville area who received the cash awards. Others receiving the awards included two each from Middle Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Belmont universities.

Mike Williams
Mike Williams

“The competition is always rigorous for these awards,” said Laura Travis Crawford, chapter assistant. “Brian and Mike were two of our top finalists and we were proud to be able to provide them with a financial award to help them with their education.”

Every year, Dr. Mark Crawford, coordinator of the Commercial Music program at the University, nominates students, who he believes, demonstrate a genuine benefit by receiving a scholarship, and have also been able to share their musical talents and goals.

“I only nominate juniors or seniors who may have a financial need, but who also have proven themselves to be above average musicians, academically successful, and otherwise responsible students,” said Crawford.  “For the last several years, The Academy has very graciously included our students for scholarship consideration. Our students are competing with other music students for the same money. This brings the total to 10 students who have been helped financially by the academy.”

The Recording Academy, known variously as The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences or NARAS, is an organization of musicians, producers, recording engineers and other recording professionals dedicated to improving the quality of life and cultural condition for music and its makers. The Academy has 12 chapters, including the one in Nashville, and focuses on all levels and aspects of music education.

 

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Music Legend Chuck Rainey to Lecture, Perform at Tennessee State University

CD CoverNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Release) – At one time tagged as the hardest working bass player in America, music legend Chuck Rainey will lecture and entertain students, faculty, staff and the community in a one-day appearance at Tennessee State University on Friday, Sept. 20.

As the first guest in the upcoming lecture series, “Music Matters: Hosted by Dr. Rod Taylor,” sponsored by the Department of Language, Literature, and Philosophy, the longtime performer and educator will speak to an English class about music and writing.

Rainey, whose playing on successful television shows, motion pictures and recordings have earned him the title as the most recorded bass player in the history of recorded music, will combine his lecture with a demonstration of his techniques/songs, to be followed by a question and answer period with the audience. The lecture and performance will be held in Poag Auditorium between 12:30-1:45 p.m.

Longtime Rainey collaborator and friend, Dr. Rod Taylor, assistant professor of Literature and Writing, whose English 1010 (Freshman Composition) class will be the subject of Rainey’s lecture, says he expects the music icon to bring a “unique perspective” to his class topic and to the process of writing.

“As a pioneer of both a musical instrument and revolutionary style, Chuck Rainey’s visit offers the students in my class a chance to talk with someone who has played his way across five decades of musical landscape, transitioning from 4-track analog days to the modern Pro Tools digital age,” said Taylor.

A noted bassist himself, Taylor, after whom the lecture series is named, was an associate producer on Rainey’s most recent solo album Interpretations of a Groove, which was partially mixed in Nashville.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio as Charles Walter Rainey III, Chuck boasts a native ‘son ship’ of Youngstown, Ohio, where he was actually raised and educated. Originally trained in the classics as a trumpet player by C.F. Brown, James Ramsey and John Busch, Chuck switched to Baritone Horn while attending Lane college in Jackson, Tenn., and was an intricate part of the school’s well known and traveled ‘brass ensemble’ in the early 60s.

During the early 60s thru the early 70s, Rainey toured and/or recorded with some of the most prominent artist of that era, such as King Curtis, Sam Cooke, Etta James, the original Coasters, Jackie Wilson, Harry Belafonte, Al Kooper, The Supremes, Labelle, Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack and Quincy Jones.

Chuck Rainey Flyer-smallAdditionally, his unique style has brought him opportunities in the television and film industries where he has performed on musical themes and in the source music of numerous motion pictures, television series and sitcoms, along with radio and TV advertisements.

“Chuck Rainey’s bass lines have laid the foundation for many of the popular songs in pop, rock, jazz and fusion that emerged from the 60s and 70s,” Taylor wrote about his friend in an article in the Aug. 9, 2012 edition of No Treble, an online magazine for bass players. “From Aretha Franklin to Marvin Gaye to Steely Dan, he’s played an integral part in the music of at least five Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame inductees. His double stops, slides, and syncopated grooves are legendary, and—alongside James Jamerson, he remains one of the most influential players in our instrument’s history.”

Rainey’s Sept. 20 performance in Poag Auditorium will feature a mixture of music from some of his earlier and most recent recordings. The show begins promptly at 12:30 p.m. It is free and open to all. For more information contact Dr. Rod Taylor at rodctaylor1@gmail.com or 615-963-4896.

For more information about this series, visit the Music Matters Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/musicmattersconversations

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331


About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university and is a comprehensive, urban, coeducational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top Universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912 Tennessee State University celebrates 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu