Thursday, November 15, 2012

A little George Michael with your big band jazz?

by Musician 1st Class Scott Shepherd
Being one of the tour managers for the Commodores has its benefits. Once I found out that the band was going to be in North Carolina, I immediately got on the phone and called Dr. Jay Jackson, Associate Dean of Music at Appalachian State University (ASU) and booked the band for this years tour. I graduated from ASU back in 1995, and have not been back since 1999. It had been to long, and I needed get back to Boone and I wanted to bring the best big band in the country with me.

Commodores with Watauga High
School jazz students
It was a surreal feeling driving back up 421 as it had changed so much since my last time driving up the mountain, but yet there was just enough that looked the same that it brought back many great memories.

The band was not able to play in ASU due to the auditorium being renovated, but we were given the opportunity to play at Watauga High School thanks to the band director Tim Walker.

The band did a clinic for Watauga High School’s Jazz band before the show. The students picked two tunes for the Commodores to sight read, then a few of the students got to sit in with the band.

Dr. Jay Jackson, myself,
& Dr. Harold McKinney
Several of my old teachers came to the show including the head of Jazz Studies at ASU, Todd Wright.  Mr. Wright was able to sit in and play a tune with the band. I was most excited when I saw my old trombone teacher Dr. Harold McKinney walk into the auditorium. He was the teacher that got me the most excited about music. Thanks to him and many hours of practicing I was able to pass the Navy audition and join the Navy Music Program. So, if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am today!

Me and Prof. Todd Wright
The band’s last show was incredible. Chief Musician Luis Hernandez quoted the infamous saxophone melody from George Michael's tune "Careless Whisper". This little quote ended up in almost everyone’s solo the rest of the night, including Todd Wright’s!

It was a great night and a great way to end the tour! Hope to bring the band back in five more years!

About the Author

Musician 1st Class Scott Shepherdis a native of Concord N.C. and holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Appalachian State University. He entered the Navy in 1995 as a trombonist and served at Navy Band Mid-South, the Pacific Fleet Band and the Navy Band Southeast before joining the United States Navy Band, Washington D.C. in 2007. Petty Officer Shepherd serves as the tour manager for the Commodores and is also the property responsible officer for the electronics department.

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