On Thursday, March 7th we gathered in the concert hall at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center for a great evening of music and fun, all around.
The NOVA Community Band began the evening with The Thunderer by John Philip Sousa, followed by Children’s March “Over the Hills and Far Away” by percent Grainger.
Clarinet soloists, Brian Jones and Charles West joined the band for Il Convegno by Amilcare Ponchielli. Hearing them together was a treat! What incredible nuance!
Trombonist Harry Watters took the crowd with Cherokee by Ray Noble and Over the Rainbow, by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg. What a phenomenal stage presence!
The last piece from The Band for their first performance section, offered up a beautiful World Premiere by composer Robert Thurston, titled “Civil Discourse” which featured Dennis Edelbrock on Trumpet. The piece’s complexities and journey was stunningly written and we were lucky to have Robert Thurston in the audience to hear it performed.
The George Mason Elementary School Jazz Band rocked the house with Michael Sweeney’s “Blue Machine” and the Sesame Street Theme by Joe Raposo. Director, Heather Rosner, has everyone at a superb level of musicianship.
The annual Recognition for Student Winners from Alexandria City public Schools in the Visual and Performing Arts Categories of the National PTA Reflections Program was another heart-felt moment. Each student winner had the opportunity to tell the audience about their award.
The George Washington Middle School Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Richard Seracino, performedDouble Play by Carl Strommen, Buckjump by Troy Andrews and Mdke Ballard, and Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” by Stevie Wonder.
The final number of the night brought school children from area elementary and middle schools together with the NOVA Alexandria Band.
They all played Havana and Fanfare and Fireworks!!! What a great experience it was for everyone!!!
Please join us at The Torpedo Factory in Alexandria for a great benefit concert with the NOVA Nighthawks Jazz Ensemble!
Also, PLEASE COME TO THE LAST CONCERT OF THE SEASON!
May 3rd, 8:00-9:30PM at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center!
We will have a combined concert featuring ALL of our ensembles! The Community Choir, The NOVA Alexandria Community Band and the NOVA Nighthawks Jazz Band!
We look forward to seeing you soon!
For more information contact Lisa Eckstein at Leckstein@nvcc.edu
This spring’s Faculty Recital was wonderful! On Tuesday, February 26th, 2019 we all gathered at 2:00pm in the Music Department Recital Hall and were taught by our very own masters. The recital began with Trombonist Harry Watters and Guitartist Kenneth Hall performing All The Things You Are by Jerome Kern.
Pianist Christine Hagan followed with the lovely piece of Fantasia by Giles Farnaby.
John Kocur joined her for Romance by William Grant-Still. A wonderful rendition!
Our Violin teacher, Rami Kanaan and accompanist Bettye Cooley performed Meditation from Thais by Jules Massenet and Czardas by Vittorio Monti.
Jonathan Caudill, on of our very talented voice teachers performed Liszt’s Die Lorelei, and Monti’s ‘A Vucchella.
Our piano teacher Ja-Hye Koo played the ever amazing Ondine by Maurice Ravel.
The recital ended with Jonathan Kolm joining Ja-Hye to perform Jonathans three movement composition “Four Hand Suite”
Jonathan was kind enough to put this together and we owe him our gratitude! Jonathan is also having a world premier of his piece Arboreal Dreams by The United States Air Force Band Woodwind Quintet, this Saturday in room 118 of Northern Virginia Community College – Alexandria Campus, Center for Design Media and the Arts at 7:00PM Parking is FREE!!!! Flyer is at the bottom of this page : )
Chorus had an exciting time putting on a great evening of Broadway Tunes. It all began with “There’s No Business Like Show Business!” Seriously… It’s true. Our host?, Director of the NOVA Community Chorus, Chad Steffey.
The evening featured some incredible works, mainly showing off some of our individual Chorus members. This was their night. These volunteer soloists picked their own songs and sang their hearts out! David Shilton sings C’est Moi from Camelot.
They took turns for a well over an hours worth of Broadway Tunes! Mary Shilton sang What I did for Love, from A Chorus Line.
Bernie Cohen’s “If I Were a Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof, was wonderful.
Our Guest Artist, Soloist, Emi Eiting, sang multiple songs, including What More Do I need? from Saturday Night, Times Are Hard For Dreamers, Vanilla Ice Cream, from She Loves Me and Meadowlark from The Baker’s Wife! Emi is a freelance performer, choral conductor, pianist, director choral adjudicator and vocal coach working in Northern Virginia. Her voice just fills the hall beautifully.
There were so many phenomenal Tunes! The Ensemble Women sang, “And All That Jazz” from Chicago, followed by the Ensemble Men adding “Gee, Officer Krupke from West Side Story.
With a trip down memory lane we embarked on a great 60’s feel, What a Piece of Work is Man/How Dare They Try from Hair. The work featured Margot Hanclich, followed by Alison Sheahan singing On a Clear Day.
Tom Munger and Bernie Cohen had us, “Brush Up on Your Shakespeare” from Kiss Me Kate!
Dylan Nohilly, asked, “Try to Remember” from The Fantasticks.
After a lovely round of soloists, the Chorus came in with a stunning rendition of Singing in the Rain! You can hear a part of it on Instagram! instagram.com/musicatnova Follow us and if you take pictures of our concerts feel free to hashtag #musicatnova, so that we can all enjoy them : )
This was followed by a beautiful and soulful, Send in the Clowns from A Little Night Music. The final piece of the evening was Do You Hear the People Sing from Les Misérables!
If you want to catch the Chorus soon, we are having our Spring Concert, here at The Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center on May 3rd at 8:00pm! Please bring family and friends to help support all the efforts of our students and community with this, our Combined, Chorus, Band and Jazz Ensemble Concert.
For more information contact Lisa Eckstein at Leckstein@nvcc.edu
The evening NOVA Holiday Concert began with Chad Steffey directing the NOVA Community Choir in Magnificat in C Major, D. 486 by Franz Schubert. Soprano – Shelby Young, Altos – Halina Banas-Jones & Jackie Cohen, Tenor – Dave Shepherd and Bass singer Dylan Nohilly performed beautifully.
This was followed by, “In the Bleak of Winter” by Harold Darke, featuring Tenor Marcos Sonnenber-Nieves and Soprano, Barbara Shepherd.
It was so wonderful to hear a variety of holiday works. “Ocho Kandelikas” Landino Song for Channukah, by Flory Jagoda was lovely and the final choral work was simple and beautiful, “A Merry Christmas” West Country traditional Song, arranged by Arthur Warrell.
The Jazz Ensemble was on it! Their holiday program included, “Mary Did you Know?” by Mark Lowry and Buddy Green.
They did a great rendition of Gordin Goodwind’s jazz arrangement for Hark! The Herald Angels Sing/
Jay Livingston and Ray Evans’ Silver Bells was a huge hit.
Of course the biggest surprise was a jazzy Joy to the World. We were all so excited during the applause, I accidentally got of this fun image : )
The NOVA Alexandria Band was at the ready, for the next section. We began with A Chanukah Celebration, arranged by David Bobrowitz.
I love it when the band don a great cap!
Minor Alterations: Christmas Through the Looking Glass by David Lovrien, followed, just before Greensleeves.
The students have been working hard all semester and this was a perfect night to shine! They all did an amazing job!
The Christmas March was really fun!
For the finale, Lisa turned to the audience to conduct the Singalong, Christmas Finale! The lyrics were on the back of the program : )
The audience really enjoyed it!
We were luckily joined by our NOVA leadership! President Ralls, our Alexandria Provost, Annette Haggray and The Dean of the Arts, David Epstein were all in attendance.
The concert was huge hit and the round of applause was rewarding for all.
The students work so hard in all our Music Programs, between the Band, Choir and Jazz Band and this is their big opportunity to perform for family and friends. We really appreciate your support.
Please Join us for our next, wonderful evening Concert at The Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center! The Band will be putting on the Annual Children’s Concert! Thursday, March 7th, 2019 at 7:30 pm. The Concert will feature special guest soloists: Trumpeter Dennis Edelbrock, Trombonist Harry Watters, and clarinetists Brian Jones and Charles West! We will also provide the world premier of a piece by composer Robert Thurston! Joining us will be The George Mason Elementary School Jazz Band, The George Washington Middle School Jazz Ensemble, The Alexandria City Public Schools Student Finalists in the National PTA Reflections Program and the band will be joined by area School Band and Orchestra Students!!! It’s going to be quite the night!!!!
For more information, please contact Lisa Eckstein email@example.com
NOVA Alexandria Jazz Ensembles performed at the Carlyle Club on Monday night! The evening began with “The Generation Gap” One of the great Jazz combos in the Jazz Studies Program, featuring:
John Butler, alto saxophone and flute; Christopher Kaplan, guitar; Burvin Jenkins, guitar (group leader); Jacqueline Rodriguez, piano; Cristhian Arango, bass and Fernando Galleas, drums.
Our second Ensemble, The Jazz Standards, features: Michael Barr, alto saxophone; Marie Himel, tenor saxophone and flute; Andrew Grabowski, guitar; Bryan Dicks, guitar; Rodney Avery, piano; Marcus Levitan, bass; Kurt Steinbacher, drums; Steven Melnick, voice
he Director of our Jazz Studies program, John Kocur, set the story for the NOVA Nighthawks Jazz Ensemble’s evening theme “The Sounds of Hollywood.”
The program included:
Call Me Irresponsible
Soul Bossa Nova
I Wanna Be Like You
Everyday I Have The Blues
The Jazz Band did a wonderful job. The music was fun, energized and soulful! Especially Soul Bossa Nova!
The NOVA Nighthawks Jazz Ensemble (Big Band) features:
Saxophones: Kevin Bennett, John Butler, Caryl Greenfield, Marie Himel and Susan Shapiro
Trumpet: Larry Craven, Ludwig Goon, Grason Stewart, Jacob Shapiro and Ronald Umbeck
Trombone: Thomas Fonda, Adam Kissel and Jason Smith
Rhythm Section: Roger Wood, guitar; Andrew Grabowski, guitar; Brian Kang, guitar; Rodney M Avery, piano; Owen Squire, piano; John Kang, bass; Luke Neyland, drums and Joseph Dirsa, drums.
Aside from having such a great ambiance, at the Carlye Club, we also enjoyed the amazing menu. A night of dinner and jazz is always fun. Some got up and danced the night away!
NOVA Alexandria Jazz students performing Monday, November 5th, 2018 at the Carlyle Club in Alexandria, Virginia. Photo by Britt ConleyWe’d like to thank The Carlyle Club for this phenomenal opportunity for our students to perform in an amazing venue.
To see the NOVA Jazz Ensembles again, they will be marching in the the Alexandria, Saint Patricks Day Parade on March 2nd! If you can them there, post a photo on Instagram! #Musicatnova
The Jazz Ensembles will be performing at The Torpedo Factory on April 30th from 6:30-10:00pm for JAZZ for JUSTICE.
They will also be at The NOVA, Spring Concert on May 3rd in the Schlesinger Arts Center at 8pm!
For more information about our events, please visit www.facebook.com/MusicAtNOVA
Internationally known vibraphonist, three time Grammy nominee, author and winner of the National Endowment for the Arts, JON METZGER, visited NOVA Alexandria on November 2nd for a master class in music. The students were absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from him.
He performed with our jazz faculty before the harder work of the master class. “All the Things You Are” was beautifully improvised by Jon, Kevin Pace and John Kocur.
He also performed with the faculty again, including Wade Beach, at the end of the class. I have never heard “Stella by Starlight” performed so conversationally before. Honestly, it was class in and of itself.
The students learned so much about how to up their abilities and perform at an even higher level.
Yon worked through collaborative jazz performance concepts with Rodney Avery on piano and Mary Himel on saxophone.
His innovative ideas on piano technique, collaborating through octave ranges during improvisation, where a lesson for all of us.
He coaxed Andrew Grabowski into the nuances of a whole new level of soloing. It was amazing to see how quickly he could change each students approach.
One of the great joys for everyone was jamming with Jon. The students were thrilled! What an incredible opportunity, this was.
Jon was able to funnel years of professional knowledge toward each students specific needs. It was a joy to hear the differences one master class could make.
After working with everyone, he answered question from all of us in the audience as well as the musicians he had just been coaching.
Truly, a great time was had by all! They are still talking about it!
A special thanks to Musser for helping sponsor Yon and to everyone who participated and the audience who came to learn!
What a night!!! A collaborative evening featuring The NOVA Alexandria Band, The George Mason University Wind Symphony, special guest french horn soloist Kat Fitzpatrick and two wonderful works by our very own student composers, Matthew Bandman and Nathan Pereda.
The NOVA Alexandria Band is a community band and mixes musicians of all ages and backgrounds.
Matthew Bandman took the time to explain his new composition Roses of Galante. What a wonderful work!
Matthew Bandman’s Roses of Galante being performed by the Alexandria Band. What a lovely piece!
Soloist Kate Fizpatrick, from the Air Force Ceremonial Brass, joined the band for Moreceau de concert by Camille Saint-Saens.
Kate has also performed with the Airmen of Note and spent 17 years with the Air Force Band.
Ashley Begley performing Shepherd’s Hey by Percy Grainger
After intermission, Mark Camphouse and the George Mason Wind Symphony began their program with the house standing during The Star-Spangled Banner by John Stafford Smith.
They performed Festive by Edward Gregson, Be Thou My Vision by David Gillingham, March Militaire Francaise by Camille Saint-Saens and Rolling Thunder by Henry Fillmore. The most amazing work of their night, however was “Remembering the Many” by Justin David Casinghino. His work is a, “reflection on the atrocities of mass gun violence in our American schools.” What an incredibly stunning work.
Mark’s Bio is more than impressive! Here are some highlights, 2018-19, marks, Mark Camphouse’s 41st year of full-time teaching in higher education. He is the director of Concert Bands, conductor of the GMU Wind Symphony and a full faculty member for Music there as well.
Camphouse has 30 published works for wind band and performs around the U.S. and abroad in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Symphony Center in Chicago, the royal Albert Hall in London and many more. Overall, he has served as guest conductor, lecturer, and clinician in 43 states and in Canada, Europe, China and Costa Rica. We are so pleased to have him collaborate and share the stage with us.
The final performance of the night, combined the GMU Wind Symphony and the NOVA Alexandria Band for a work that knocked us off our feet! Perseverance by Nathan Pereda.
Nathan is another student composer who created a work about persevering through depression and getting through life.
I can’t even begin to express how good this piece was. Well, You can hear it for yourself! I’ll be adding Matthew’s work as soon as I get that! In the mean time, Here’s Nathan!
Combined George Mason University Wind Symphony and the NOVA Alexandria Band. Lisa Eckstein, conductor
The standing ovation was immediate! What an incredible night!!!
Mark Camphouse let our student composers know how wonderful their works were.
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Our next Holiday Concert will be at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall on Thursday December 11th from 8:00 – 10pm.
Our next event here at the school is a concert/master class by famed vibraphonist Jon Metzger. He is coming for our recital series at our Music Department Recital Hall in room 118 at the Center for Design Media and the Arts at our Alexandria Campus, right up the hill from the Schlesinger Concert Hall.
Additionally, please consider coming to our Recital Series below
Also please consider coming to spend an evening at the Carlyle Club, Nov. 5: with our NOVA Jazz Ensemble Night, 7:30-9:30pm, Carlyle Club in Alexandria, (tickets & food minimum required).
Thursday, Nov. 8: Air Force Band Wind Quintet Concert, 7:30-9:30pm, the Lyceum in Alexandria. Come hear the world premiere of a piece by NOVA faculty member, Dr. Jonathan Kolm, commissioned by the Air Force Band Quintet.
Tuesday, Dec. 4: NOVA Student Jazz Combos Recital, 7:30-9pm, AFA Black Box Theater in the Center for Design, Media and the Arts – Room 103 in the Foyer.
Wednesday, Dec. 5: NOVA Student Chamber Ensembles Recital, 5:30-7pm, AFA Room 118 – Recital Hall for the Music Department, in the Center for Design, Media and the Arts.
Friday, Dec. 7: NOVA Student Piano Recital, 7:30-9pm, AFA Room 118 – Recital Hall for the Music Department, in the Center for Design, Media and the Arts.
Saturday, Dec. 8: NOVA Student Instrumental Recital, 2-3:30pm, AFA Room 118 – Recital Hall for the Music Department, in the Center for Design, Media and the Arts.
Saturday, Dec. 8: NOVA Student Voice Recital, 5-6:30pm, AFA Room 118 – Recital Hall for the Music Department, in the Center for Design, Media and the Arts.
Sunday, Dec. 9: Crystal Williams Cello Recital, 3-4pm, AFA Room 118 – Recital Hall for the Music Department, in the Center for Design, Media and the Arts.
Last night’s concert, Sacred and Profane brought together four choral ensembles. The NOVA Community Chorus, The George Mason University Chorale, The George Mason University Singers and the The Justice High School Chamber Choir! It was a phenomenal night, full of beauty and a powerhouse of sound for the second half!
The evening began with Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal, arranged by Alice Parker (b. 1925), And I Saw a New Heaven by Edgar Bainton (1880-1956) and a wonderful rendition of I Sing Because I’m Happy, arranged by Rollo Eilwork (b.1970).
Our Master of Ceremonies for the night, Chad Steffey, Director of the NOVA Community Chorus, wonderfully informed the audience about the evening’s works.
The kids did a incredible job and sounded lovely!
Dr. Stan Engebretson conducted the George Mason University Singers in, O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht by J. S. Bach.
They went through selection from Neue Liebeslieder, Op. 65 by Brahms and a lovely work showcasing, soprano soloist, Ashlyn Rock.
Tenors, Lugman Fulmer and Ross Helunds soloed Ride in the Chariot, a spiritual, arranged by Brandon Waddles.
Their performance finished with Saints Bound for Heaven, a southern harmony from 1835.
The George Mason University Chorale followed with four wonderful works: The Last Works of David by Randall Thompson (1899-1984), Flight Song, by Kim Andrew Anrnesan (1980) Ukuthula, a South African Folk Song and River in Judea by John Leavitt (1956).
They were conducted by Lisa Billingham and Dannty Cabrejos, assistant conductor with Jane Moore Kaye as the collaborative pianist.
Ukuthula naturally brought out a swinging of individuals in the audience. You just wanted to dance with them!
The second half of the concert combined all four choirs:Dr. Stan Engebreston conducted, Jane Moore Kaye and Luke Ratcliffe accompanied with collaborative pianists Michael Barranco and Andrew Lewis with Colton Morris and victor Younge on Percussion.
They brilliantly performed selection from Carmina Burana!
Soprano, Bridget Nesfield and baritone Vasili Varfis sing Tempus est iocundum, a selection from Carmina Burana by Carl Orff.
A resounding, standing ovation capped the an evening powerhouse of sound! What a phenomenal night!!!!
Please come for our next concert! It’s next week!!!
Thursday, Oct. 25, the George Mason University Wind Symphony under the direction of Mark Camphouse and the NOVA Alexandria Band under my direction will present a FREE concert!
Come and hear favorites by Camille Saint-Saens, Percy Grainger, John Philip Sousa, Henry Fillmore, David Gillingham, Edward Gregson, Charles Carter, Rossano Galante, and new pieces by young composers Justin David Casinghino, Matthew Bandman, and Nathan Pereda. This concert will also feature Air Force Band member, Kate Fitzpatrick, as French Horn soloist!
It was 2:00pm and those who knew just how great this concert was going to be were all ready in their seats and grateful they didn’t have to miss it, for a class.
Our amazing Jazz faculty warmed up and began performing one another’s works! The set list included:
Motor City by Kevin Pace
Key West Waltz by Harry Watters
Floating on AIR by John Kocur
Forgiven by John Kocur
Route 90 East by Ken Hall
Tune for Ralph by Ken Hall
The Grind by Kevin Pace
We have a stunning line up of musicians here at NOVA! Our latest faculty addition, Harry Watters, took us to a whole new world. Harry, has graced the stage with, “Doc Severinsen, Al Hirt, Pete Fountain, Erich Kunzel, Kevin Mahogany, Wycliffe Gordon, Lou Rawls, Maureen McGovern, Bill Watrous, Carl Fontana, Jiggs Whiggam, James Moody, Peter Erskine, Conrad Herwig, John Fedchock and the Boston Brass. In addition, Harry has appeared as a featured soloist with the Syracuse Symphony, the Baton Rouge Symphony, the Louisiana Philharmonic, the Tulsa Pops, the West Virginia Symphony, the University of North Texas One O’Clock Lab Band, the Janacek Philharmonic, the Moldovan Festival Orchestra and the U.S. Army Orchestra, to name a few…
Andrew Hare is an exceptional drummer! Andrew Hare grew up in a musical family, but didn’t find the drums until high school. He quickly fell in love with jazz through the music of Miles Davis and began to grow rapidly as a musician. His pursuit of jazz led to a music degree from Michigan State University, where he played in the schools award-winning Big Band, as well as an array of small groups. In addition to touring Japan and the United States with the MSU Big Band, he was also selected to participate in the prestigious Jazz Aspen Academy under the guidance of Christian McBride. He has also had the opportunity to perform with some legendary musicians including Rodney Whitaker, Jon Faddis, Frank Morgan, and Hank Jones. Since moving to DC in 2009, Andrew has become the chair of the percussion department at the Levine School of Music, earned a masters of music from the University of Maryland , and created the popular jazz drumming blog “The Melodic Drummer”, all while playing and recording with some of the area’s top jazz musicians. He looks forward to an exciting career of sharing his passion for music with audiences in DC and around the country.
Kevin, is known for his solid, earthy style of bass playing that you can hear live on over 30 recordings. A founding member of the DC Jazz Composers Collective, Pace has composed numerous award-winning compositions for jazz ensembles, orchestras, film, and artist collaborations. He has performed throughout the world at venues such as the Kennedy Center, Strathmore, and the Smithsonian, as well as jazz clubs all over the East Coast. Pace has performed with jazz greats including Gretchen Parlato, Freddie Redd, and David “Fathead” Newman. He teaches here at NOVA as well as Shepherd University.
Our Jazz piano teacher, Wade Beach, (As George Mason’s website proudly states, ” is widely respected for his harmonic sophistication and superb technique, which knows no stylistic limitations.” vWade teaches at George Mason University, as well as here with our students. Wade is everywhere, He’s honestly just a joy to listen to. He’s collaborated, ” with jazz artists including: Eddie Harris, Billy Harper, Gary Bartz, Richie Cole, Grady Tate, Keeter Betts, and Andrew White. Also pop artists including The Jackson Five, Barry White, and The Dells. Performed sols piano at the Kool Jazz Festival in the Kennedy Center – also performed at the Wolftrap Jazz Festival. He Joined The Air Force Band in 1979,” as well as working with The Airmen of Note. Wade, ” has performed for three presidents, and with great artists such as: Peter Erskin, Bob Berg, Tommy Newsom, Joe Williams, Ernie Watts, Arturo Sandoval, and Dave Liebman.Twice performed Duke Ellington’s piano concerto “A New World A’ Comin” with The Air Force Orchestra at Constitution Hall. Traveled throughout the world performing at notable locations including Carnegie Hall in NewYork. Also created many recordings with The Air Force Band. Played on the Norway’s Jazz Cruise, at the East Coast Jazz Festival with Andrew White, and at Blues Alley with Vaughn Nark, Andrew White, and Tim Eyerman. Most recently Wade is playing in a group with Jeff Antoniuk, Tom Baldwin, and Tony Martucci called “The Jazz Update.”
Ken Hall received a bachelors from Westfield State University in Mass. and his masters from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1986. He’s studied classical guitar with Tim Olbrych and William Feasley and jazz guitar with Mick Goodrick, Barry Galbraith and Ted Dunbar.
Aside from teaching for us, Ken is an in-demand freelance guitarist playing engagements with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, at the Kennedy Center’s Opera House, Signature and Olney Theatres, Blues Alley and the Smithsonian. He toured the former Soviet Union with a 16-piece big band as a guest of the Soviet State Department and has performed with jazz greats Max Roach, Dave Weckl, Slide Hampton, Keter Betts, Don Braden, Hilary Jones, Chris Vadala, country rocker Charlie Daniels, gospel great Andrae Crouch, comedienne Joan Rivers, and Italian crooner Al Martino to name a few.
Aside from his time here at NOVA, he has also taught classical and jazz guitar at Amherst College, Westfield State University, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Va.
John Kocur is the head of our Jazz Studies Program. At the Washington Post puts it, “Kocur, a saxophonist so admired in the D.C. area that he’s nicknamed “The Smoker,” dominated the bandstand with his passionate playing.” – The Washington Post
When John isn’t teaching around town, he’s working with his quartet or freelancing. Recent performances by the John Kocur Quartet have included venues such as Bohemian Caverns, Blues Alley, Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, the DC Jazz Festival, Twins Jazz, and the Phillips Collection.
Overall, City Paper said it best, Alto saxophonist John Kocur isn’t called “The Smoker” for nothing. He’s simply one of the finest soloists the D.C. jazz scene has to offer—and, it turns out, one of its most promising composers and bandleaders, too.” -Michael J. West, Washington City Paper
In addition to leading his own group, John has performed as a sideman with the international touring acts such as Jamie Cullum and Joe Piscipo. In the Washington, D.C. area he has particiapted in the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, Thad Wilson Jazz Orchestra, Capital Focus Jazz Band, and the Too Damn Big Orchestra. In addition, he frequently collaborates with musicians in other genres, playing with progressive hip-hop artist Christylez Bacon and bluegrass duo Herb and Hanson. John has proudly performed overseas at the Jazz Ascona Festival in Switzerland and the first annual Nagano Jazz Festival in Japan. Throughout his career, he has shared the stage with legendary jazz artists such as Benny Golson, Fred Wesley, Jimmie Owens, Freddie Redd, and Buck Hill.
And Jacob Garbus is our next up and coming saxaphonist! He’s placed all around the world and with our own John Kocur, The Pharcyde, De La Soul and Talib Kweli, to name a few! His bio will blossom before you know it because his playing is right up there! My advice is, learn what you can from him now, because he’ll be off creating an amazing career before we know it!
It’s not easy to move a massive band around town, but Band Director Lisa Eckstein is always undaunted! Saturday she procured a truck and packed everything up and met the students in Del Ray, in Alexandria, for a wonderful community concert! It was phenomenal!!!
Concert Band performed…
Overture for Winds by Charles Carter
Red Rock Mountain by Rossano Galante
Roses of Galante by NOVA alumnus Matthew Bandman
Carnival of Venice by Herbert Clarke featuring NOVA band euphonium player, Michael Brooke
Perseverance by NOVA student, Nathan Pereda
Shepherd’s Hey by Percy Grainger
Washington Post March by John Philip Sousa
Playing outdoors is a whole other experience. Sound often travels away toward the audience and doesn’t bounce back well. You’d never know by how in step everyone was.
The pieces were fun, energized and filled the festival!
The band was not the only NOVA group to play! Our Jazz Band followed Lisa’s amazing performance. Our director of Jazz Studies, John Kocur was quick to set the space and add some chairs for a whole new audience!
The ensemble performed a variety of works…
“Zip-Ah-Dee-Doo-Dah” by Ray Gilbert and Allie Wrubel
“Flirtibird” by Duke Ellington (from Anatomy of A Murder)
“Call Me Irresponsible” by Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen
“Soul Bossa Nova” by Quincy Jones
“Every Day” by Memphis Slim
“You’re Welcome” by Lin-Manuel Miranda
The Nighthawks Jazz Ensemble is a community Jazz Band. It brings students together, with community musicians, for a wealth of knowledge and learning for everyone. If you’d like to consider joining the ensemble, contract John Kocur at Jkocur@nvcc.edu
The band mainly performs at the Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center and various community concerts. The Next Nighthawks Jazz performance will be at the Carlyle Club!
Monday, November 5, 2018
7:30 – 9:30pm
The Carlyle Club
2050 Ballenger Ave, Alexandria, VA 22314
Come on down for a GREAT night of Jazz in an amazing club, right here in Alexandria!
Blog post by Britt Conley
Since 1967, helping people of all ages grow in the joy of making music.