San Jacinto College's student jazz band participated in a hands-on workshop with the U.S. Marine Corps Jazz Band on March 3. Led by Gunnery Sergeant Ken Ebo, students received ensemble and teamwork training and were able to play pieces alongside their counterpart in the USMC Jazz Band.
The experience gave students another view of where music could lead them. Positions in the Marine Corps Jazz Band and those of the other military branches are as highly sought after as those in nationally renowned symphonies. It's a chance for musicians to share their musical talents around the globe while serving their country.
"Many students are unaware of the musical opportunities available to them in the armed services," said Lynn Brandt, Central Campus department chair of music and audio engineering. "It's important for students to be exposed to all opportunities available to them when making decisions about their next step after graduation."
The workshop arose after local Marine Corps recruiter Staff Sergeant Samuel Barrera reached out to Brandt and music instructor Graham Tobin last fall. There was an informative presentation for the wind ensemble by the Marine Corps, and when its Jazz Band was going to be in town for this year's Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, they asked if the College would be interested in hosting a workshop.
During the workshop, Ebo took the time to go over the music the San Jac jazz band students were currently working on and gave students guidance on how to engage with it.
"Gunnery Sergeant Ebo is a world-class musician and an energetic and engaging educator," Brandt said. "His approach may have been tailored to the genre of jazz, but the concepts of communication, support, and collaboration are skills which will be applicable to these students in any profession."