Meet the 2005 Purdue Jazz Band
Director Mo Trout feels the 2005 Purdue Jazz Band just might be the best we’ve ever had at Purdue University. Certainly the fact that they were one of just nine college bands invited to the prestigious North Texas Jazz Festival, and the only one coming a school without music majors, pays testament to that belief. So we thought you’d like to know a little bit more about our jazz men and women.
Three words that describe me as a musician:
Kevin Chin, guitar: Multi-instrumental, obsessed, and creative.
Kristen Wilde, trombone: Bright, versatile, spontaneous.
Eric Couch, trumpet: I’d like to say I’m sensitive, controlled, and smart. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know. You’d have to ask Mo Trout.
Erin Jackson, saxophone: Creative, Fun, Team Player
What was it about jazz that attracted you to it, and has kept you interested in it?
Shara Pearson, trumpet: I was attracted to jazz initially because it was more fun than most music we played in school. I’m still involved with it because I never get bored with it. The music is always changing. That’s the beauty of it. That’s why it’s such an art form. The music is supposed to change with the emotions put into it.
Zachary Christian, piano: I love everything about jazz. I love its complexity and being able to listen to the intricate dialogue between all of the instruments. When playing jazz, I feel such freedom and creative power, communicating my current thoughts and feelings through the keys.
Eric Couch, trumpet: It’s an incredibly broad area of music that encompasses a lot of styles, so it’s hard to get bored with it unless you really try. It’s also easier to relax and play some of these tunes than in some of the other music disciplines.
Kristen Wilde, trombone: Mostly I was attracted to jazz because I got to play my own part, and I stayed in it because jazz gives me as a trombonist a chance to be more than a background figure, blending in with the rest of the band.
What you see as the Purdue Jazz Band’s strengths this year:
Zachary Christian, piano: As a member of the rhythm section, I’m a little partial, but as such, have to say that the rhythm section provides a great stable base for the rest of the band. Everyone is really strong musically, and I’m always blown away by how, if my eyes were closed, I would mistake them for a professional-level group.
Erin Jackson, saxophone: This year, the band seems to have a common bond. The relationships all seem better between the members, and since most of us have been playing together for a few years, the band really clicks together.
What skills music/jazz has taught you that will transfer into your career?
Spencer Dell, trumpet: I have learned from jazz the ability to be creative and adapt to ever changing situations. Jazz is a music that requires you to be able to make decisions “on the fly”, which in turn translates to being able to “improvise” a way out of any of life’s problems thrown at you.
Matt O’Callaghan, trombone: That you have to learn the basics first before you can start getting truly creative.
Michael Herkamp, trumpet: It has taught me that I need to practice to get good at something. It has also taught me teamwork skills because you have to play within the group. There isn’t room for “heroes,”or people who outplay the group and make it sound bad.
Talk about the jazz musician you most admire and why:
James Wilkinson, bari sax: I really like James Carter. He came to Purdue not too long ago and I was expecting to hear the typical combo sound but his group actually had melodies that went somewhere and any squeaks and squawks made actually made melodic sense rather than the typical, “Hey, watch how high I can play! Isn't that cool!” style of playing. As a musician and as a human being, I very much appreciate any other musician who is willing to play music rather than just make abstract chaotic noises ;-)
Courtney Roehn, jazz vocalist: Ella Fitzgerald is my favorite. She has an incredible range and makes up scat choruses on the spot I could never hope to learn in less than a week. Listening her makes me aspire to be better at what I do and remember to try new things, no matter how silly it sounds. Sometimes that’s the only way to discover something that works.
Jake Noparstak, saxophone: Miles Davis, because he did it all and came out of it. Yeah, he got messed up in drugs and so forth, but he managed to quit, cold turkey, on his own. I don’t care who you are, that is tough. That, and he just had one of the most beautiful trumpet sounds I’ve ever heard. Everything that seemed to come out of his horn was just gorgeous.
Alex Fenske, trumpet: Clifford Brown. In a time when everyone was doing drugs, namely heroin in attempts to be like Bird, Clifford didn’t drink, smoke, or do any drugs. He also had a college education. His technical expertise and precision make listening to him exciting.
What are your hobbies other than music?
Cosmos Krejci, saxophone: Building things.
Shara Pearson, trumpet: I love to write. I’m also a huge movie buff, so whenever I find a free couple of hours, I’m probably watching some new movie.
Jonathan Christian, trumpet: Surfing, playing soccer, working on cars and racing them.
What’s you career goal after graduating from Purdue graduation?
Cosmos Krejci, saxophone: Be an engineer for a while, then open a jazz club.
Shara Pearson, trumpet: I’d love to get involved with music journalism. That’s sort of the best of both worlds in regards to what I’m interested in.
James Wilkinson, bari sax: I'd like to get into industry as a biomedical/computer engineer. In the same way that it's rewarding to make someone’s computer work better than it did before, it'd be even more rewarding to help someone's body work better than it did before. It's a pretty new field and I'd love to be a part of it.
Zachary Christian, piano: More than likely, I will end up working in an architectural-engineering firm for a while, but my long-term goal is to run my own multi-disciplined Civil Engineering firm.
Kristen Wilde, trombone: Attend graduate study in neuroscience to become a professor and do research on narcolepsy.
Spencer Dell, trumpet: Make my way into the financial world to tackle banking and/or investment management.
Shohei Shibata, drums: Pursue Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering
Michael Herkamp, trumpet: Aeronautical Engineer, with a hope to work on fighter aircraft or other military applications.
Matt O’Callaghan, trombone: Get a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering and then startup or work to management level of a design-build company.
Kevin Chin, guitar: I hope to work with audio/music technology, designing amplifiers or recording systems, or actually working in a studio as an engineer or producer.
Eric Couch, trumpet: Law School.
Courtney Rohen, jazz vocalist: I would ideally like to teach upper level U.S. Government. My ultimate goal is toget teens excited about our government, and encourage them to explore their own political views since they are the next generation of voters.
Jake Noparstak, saxophone: I hope to one day be a professor of mathematics somewhere, and play in a small jazz combo on the side.