As the Troy University jazz ensemble has grown, the John M. Long School of Music has been able to give back to the talented students playing in it.
The jazz ensemble has grown a lot in recent years, from friendly competitions with other ensembles to expanding their online presence.
Theo Hornsby, the lead trumpet player for the jazz ensemble, is the most recent recipient of the Bess and Terry Mizelle jazz ensemble scholarship. The scholarship is awarded yearly to a member of the jazz ensemble and has helped financially support deserving students.
Hornsby said the scholarship will help him pursue his degree and ease the financial burden associated with college. He also pointed out the role that the jazz ensemble has played in his development and versatility as a musician.
“Being in the jazz ensemble has provided a way for me to diversify the amount of trumpet playing that I do,” said Hornsby, who has been in the ensemble for two-and-a-half years. “As a trumpet player particularly, you are expected to do all kinds of playing.”
The jazz ensemble, led by Dave Camwell, an associate professor in the Long School, has two concerts per semester on campus and performs at other off-campus events. Camwell says that the ensemble is a source of pride among the musicians and the department.
“There’s a lot of excitement that happens at concerts,” said Camwell. “There’s a high expectation of top-level musicianship and preparation [for the ensemble.]”
Along with the high level of play comes the distinct style of jazz music, which adds a lot of unique musical skill to classroom learning.
“The jazz arts are an excellent way for you to exercise expression in music, especially when it comes to interpretation and improvisation,” said Hornsby. “You get so much of that in the jazz ensemble.”