Source: Sherman Publications

Trumpet pro plays with jazz students

by Trevor Keiser

September 18, 2013

Oxford High School’s Jazz Band kicked off its first concert in Lansing last Friday night as a part of Marshall Music’s 65th year celebration called “Marshallpalcoza.”

“Marshall Music is the company that does equipment rental and is our music dealer,” explained OHS Band Director Jim Gibbons. “In honor of their 65th anniversary, they wanted to do a concert at their store in Lansing and wanted to bring in guest artists.”

Gibbons said they received a call from Marshall Music in late spring asking if the OHS Jazz Band would play with world renowned solo, jazz and classical trumpet player Allen Vizutti.

“He is a huge, huge, huge guest artist,” he said. “It’s a really awesome opportunity for our students.”

As a part of Vizutti playing with OHS, the students received a two hour practice/ training clinic on Thursday with him that was co-sponsored by both Marshall Music and Yamaha Music.

“We’re really appreciative for our students to have the opportunity to (learn from Allen Vizutti) from Marshall Music and Yamaha,” Gibbons noted. “It’s a really big honor for us to have that.”

Chris Jelenic, district manager for Yamaha’s band & orchestral division said they “wanted to do something special in this area because they’re such an educationally minded company.”

“We wanted to do something at the high school level and this was a perfect opportunity to do it with the kids and to expose them to some players who are of meaningful consequence, someone that’s doing it for a living,” Jelenic said. “Allen was available to do it and wanted to do it. We always put our resources back into growing the business and growing the musical educational market because it’s so important. All the studies that have been done show kids who have done musical education, their math (scores), chances of going to college or whatever (are) a lot stronger. Plus, it also makes them a well-rounded individual.”

Vizutti agreed. “I do a lot of interaction with different age musicians in schools because the benefits are well documented that they need energy infusion,” he said. “The kids are so busy and so inundated with responsibilities and electronics and activities that we’re out there beating the bushes to continue music education. Its power in the world is really positive.”

Being able to fit time in as a professional musician to educate students is also a “very positive” thing for him, he noted.

“I’m very flattered that a lot forces came together and are enthusiastic about my visit. My experience tells me it’s always a good thing and it’s a lot of fun,” Vizutti said. “I’m hoping quite a few people in the band will have a little more exciting time than what they’ve had before or at least in the category of positive things they’ll remember. Then my job is done and I’m on to the next one (whether it be) educational, professional or whatever.”

Jazz Band Instructor John Hall considered it a “huge honor” having Vizutti play with his students. “Him showing up and actually working with the kids, made it clear how important it is for students to work with top professionals like him. He didn’t only play his tunes, but he taught us about life as a musician, musical concepts and ideas and things that reinforce how important it is to practice and breathe properly,” Hall said. “That just made a huge difference to me and I think students hearing that from a top professional makes a big difference for the students that can change their lives.”