Camp was awesome. I was priviledged to work with 4 wonderful other staff members and 17 spectacular students! We had so much fun this past week, I didn’t want it to end. Reagan (t-bone tech) and I even talked about taking the group on the road and doing a series of learning institutes, like Stan Kenton did during his time. Unfortunately, it’s expensive to do something like that and I can imagine getting the money for something like that would be difficult.
I can’t express what I got from this experience. The entire camp was at Texas A&M Commerce but the jazz portion was housed at Commerce HS, about 1/2 a mile away from the University. This was just what we needed. The kids had the chance to learn the language of jazz without interruption or distraction from the rest of the camp. It was much like going to another country to learn their native language. The kids bonded within hours and were inseperable for the rest of the week. The staff was about the same. We learned 4 tunes and performed 3 times to 3 different audiences. The Air National Guard Band of the Gulf Coast came and cliniced our group, as well as gave a concert for the entire camp.
Part of the jazz camp was supposed to be a directors workshop and there really wasn’t time to do major discussions during the day but every night, the jazz teachers all got together at the end of the day and had our workshop meetings in the hot tub/pool area of the Holiday Inn Express the University put us up in. I learned so much!
I’ve got two recordings you can check out up at the top. This was from our 2nd performance, which was at the chamber ensemble recitals. The first piece is called Palacios and it is named for the city of Palacios, TX. We begin the tune by introducing all the members of the band and allowing each to get their big intro as they join the ensemble. The 2nd is called The Chicken and it was by far the band’s favorite tune. I hope you enjoy listening to them as much as we enjoyed playing them. I should have the recording of the final concert in a few weeks.
Thanks to Andy (White Chocolate), Ashley (Chunk…not), Kristina & Taka (Crazy Ninja) of the saxes; Michael, Josh, Jared (Subway) & Andrew (Andres) of the trombones; Kevin (The Colonel), Kraig (The Quarterback), Becca & Nick (Starbucks) of the trumpets; Ian (Sir Elton), Nathan, Katie (St. Ruby), David & John (Superfly) of the rhythm section; and Ronnie, Fred (The Professor), Reagan & JD of the staff for such a wonderful week. Never again, will any of us have the same experience again. Go Whitley Rooftop Jazz Orchestra!!
See the pictures in my gallery.