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Jazz Studies

The jazz program at Temple College is growing at a fast pace and offers students the opportunity to participate in musical groups that are quickly becoming recognized as some of the finest in Central Texas. In addition to performances in Temple, the jazz ensembles are asked to perform at numerous concerts and festivals locally and throughout the state every year. Annually, several of TC's jazz students receive honors, being chosen for both the International Association of Jazz Educators All-Star Community College Jazz Ensemble as well as the Texas Community College All-State Jazz Ensemble. In addition, the groups have had the opportunity to perform with world class musicians such as Dave Weckl, Peter Erskine, Frank Mantooth and Ron Wilkins.

The Temple Jazz Orchestra, founded and directed by Tom Fairlie, emerged from the natural growth of the jazz program at Temple College over the last thirteen years. Founded in 1990, what began as a collaboration of students and adult musicians from the area has metamorphosed into the premier professional jazz ensemble in Central Texas. TJO now boasts the best professional jazz musicians and educators from an area surrounding Temple, including musicians from Waco, Killeen, Belton, Austin, and other communities.

The Temple Jazz Orchestra, its members, and/or small ensembles that have spun off of the group have received recognition at several nationally known jazz festivals including the UNC Greeley Jazz Festival, the Loyola University (New Orleans) Jazz Festival, the Sam Houston State Jazz Festival and others.

The featured band at the final concert of the Temple Jazz Festival for the past thirteen years, TJO has performed with Ron Wilkins, Marvin Stamm, Bob Mintzer, Russel Ferrante, Eric Marienthal, Allen Vizzuti, Bill Watrous, John Fedchock, Henry Brun, Kevin Mahogany, Gary Foster, Ernie Watts, Lew Soloff, Frank Mantooth, and others.

The Temple Jazz Orchestra released its first compact disc recording in the spring of 2001, featuring the works of various artists. It is available for sale through the Division of Fine Arts office.

The Temple College Jazz Ensemble is a twenty-piece big band comprised of traditional college students. The group performs a minimum of four concerts per year and participates in local/regional high schools and jazz festivals. Performing a wide variety of literature from traditional to contemporary, the ensemble gives one the opportunity to work on playing jazz style and challenges the student rhythmically, technically, and harmonically. Selection is based on audition.

The Temple College Vocal Jazz is a 10-16 piece vocal group that performs with a live rhythm section. Performance in this ensemble is challenging, fun and exciting. Each member has the opportunity to sing solos and learn to improvise by "scat" singing. This ensemble performs a wide variety of music from traditional jazz standards to pop/funk. Participation is based on audition and/or instructor recommendation.

The Temple College Jazz Combos have gained popularity over the past few years, giving instrumentalists as well as vocalists the freedom to perform in a small ensemble. Group styles vary widely depending on ensemble members' contributions. There have been one to four combos per semester, depending on student participation and interest. Selection is based on audition before the fall semester begins.

Jazz Styles and Improvisation is a course designed to give students the tools to develop improvisational skills. Students learn jazz theory and harmony as well as study the solos of jazz masters. Through transcribing solos and learning techniques for improvising, students become comfortable interpreting chord symbols and recognizing form. Students are encouraged to explore their own creativity and develop tools for inspired individual expression.

The music department also has hosted the annual Temple College Jazz Festival since 1990. This festival is designed to give our students the opportunity to perform with and attend clinics by internationally known musicians. Additionally, it offers exemplary concerts to the community and attracts over 600 high school, junior high, and musicians to our campus every spring.