Jazz: an ensemble and their director

 

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Marie Bagwell
Staff Writer

While his office is bare as he settles into Cameron University, Dr. Andrew Stonerock’s vision for the Jazz Ensemble is anything but sparse.

Stonerock might be new to the position of director, but he has great ambitions for the Jazz Ensemble. Stonerock said he would like to see the Jazz Ensemble return to the level it once obtained in the 1980s – where the jazz ensemble tours to places like Washington D.C. and California, as it has in the past Stonerock said.

“At one point they had three jazz ensembles,” Stonerock said. “That is a huge thing. I’d like to see us get back to that level of playing and that kind of awareness, not just on campus but in the community and even the state and region as well.”

Stonerock not only has a vision for the Jazz Ensemble but he also has a plan. Stonerock says the best way to get the jazz ensemble back to the heydays of the 1980s is to get the students more involved.

“Even if they don’t play an instrument or if they played an instrument at one time but not really interested in playing an instrument right now,” Stonerock said, “they should come to concerts and come support the jazz band.”

With a doctorate in Saxophone Performance and Pedagogy, the art of teaching, from University of Colorado Boulder, Stonerock has a true passion for music and jazz.

“The first thing that really attracted me to jazz was the freedom,” Stonerock said.

Even though Stonerock started his college career as a Business major, he couldn’t stay away from music.

“There are two kinds of passions,” Stonerock said. “There is the passion to do something and there is the passion that can’t be without something. I found myself with music – I just couldn’t do anything else. This is music or bust.”

Stonerock has a message for students who may feel like they are too far behind their peers to pursue: “I can sympathize with some Cameron students that come in as music majors that haven’t had lessons before. I understand exactly where you are and I’m the perfect person to help you get where you need to be.”

Stonerock is not only the director of the Jazz Ensemble but he also teaches private lessons for saxophone, clarinet and obo – Stonerock considers himself competent in these instruments, including the flute. He also teaches jazz improvisation, site singing and ear training, woodwind methods, music literature and American Popular Music.

Stonerock has played with several symphonies and orchestras – The Colorado Symphony, The Fort Collins Symphony and The Boulder Philharmonic – and in numerous jazz gigs including, accompanying with Natalie Cole, Boyz II Men, running his own jazz combo and jazz quintet. He also will be releasing a CD in the fall.

If students are interested in becoming a part of the jazz ensemble, this semester’s ensemble has already been selected; however, Stonerock encourages students to check out the ensemble and contact him at AStonerock@cameron.edu. The Jazz Ensemble will perform a country/jazz fusion concert on Oct. 30.

 

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