Meet the KSU Jazz Combo: A playing opportunity for students
By Natalia H. Schust
Sam Skelton, director of jazz studies and lecturer in saxophone, is the mentor of a unique opportunity for Kennesaw State students: the jazz combo. As needs for music both on-campus and off-campus arise, Skelton consults with a certain client about what type of music is needed and calls upon KSU students to fill that musical need.
(Below) KSU Jazz Combo member Laramie Rodriguez
For instance, the KSU Jazz Combo has performed a jazz trio at the LeoDelle and Lex Jolley Lodge for a reception and, off-campus, at the grand opening of a bank and a coffee house.
Students find this opportunity very beneficial because they gain performance experience and in many cases, get paid for it. Skelton explained that “what we do is different from the KSU Jazz Ensemble because the ensemble groups are classes in which the student receives credit but no monetary compensation for any scheduled performance.”
In addition, it is a great chance for students to hone professional skills such as writing a simple contract, putting together a set list, interacting with clients, emceeing an event and following up after the event to ensure its success.
Music education major Laramie Rodriguez explained that playing with the KSU Jazz Combo has been a great experience because it opened up many doors for him. Rodriguez said, “This gives me a great chance to interact with other musicians as well as grow as an individual player and an ensemble player.” Moreover, Rodriguez said that performing with the Jazz Combo gave him ideas about what he can do with his students when he starts teaching. “I wish to get them out into the community and show that keeping the arts in the schools is definitely worthwhile,” said Rodriguez.
Interested students can see the KSU Jazz Combo in concert on April 16 at 8 p.m. in the Dr. Bobbie Bailey & Family Performance Center. Admission for the concert is free. For more information about the group, please contact Sam Skelton at email@example.com or 770-423-6554.