Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Student and Faculty Chosen to Represent Alamo Colleges at Prestigious Jazz Meeting in Estonia

Good news! San Antonio College music student Marco Salinas and his applied jazz/improvisation teacher and adjunct instructor at the Palmetto Center for the Arts at Northwest Vista College, Joe Caploe, have been accepted into the prestigious 2018 Jazz Meeting of the International Association of Schools of Jazz, July 2-7! This year's global jazz meeting is to be hosted by the Viljandi Culture Academy in Estonia.
Marco Salinas

"It is a great honour for me to welcome all of you to Viljandi, Estonia, for the 2018 IASJ Jazz Meeting.... We hope the meeting in Viljandi will lead to new avenues for dialogue and new collaborations across borders and we wish that the meetings and concerts are about celebrating jazz and the arts that is enriching our lives, our country and our society. Prepare yourself to be challenged, excited and inspired. See you in Viljandi! - Iñaki Sandoval, Director Viljandi Culture Academy 
Liam Dixon (5th from right), Caploe (right), 2017 Jazz Meeting, Siena

Launched in 2010, the A-JAM Alamo Colleges Jazz Mentorship Program creates opportunities for San Antonio students to succeed both locally and internationally in the intercultural collaborative field of jazz. To understand our mission, take five minutes to watch the trailer for a documentary on the unique international jazz meeting we prepare our students to attend. This is the grand prize for members of the A-JAM program, and it is--as founding member Ronan Guilfoyle stated--"a pearl beyond price." In the words of A-JAM student Odie Wallace (IASJ Denmark 2013), the experience is "life changing." 
As the filmmaker says, it's "a documentary film about jazz education that's not about the music. It's a film about collaboration, creativity, and community; a film about sharing ideas across cultures, a film about the legacy that passes from generation to generation; a respect for the elders, and the hope that the younger generation will take that knowledge and pass it forward. David Liebman, who won the NEA Jazz Masters award in 2011, founded the IASJ [International Association of Schools of Jazz] about twenty years ago with the sole purpose of creating a forum for cross-cultural communication." - Leon Segal, filmmaker and psychologist. Read more about the program... 
Francis Stromboe (left), 2016 Jazz Meeting, Boston

Please join us in congratulating Marco and Joe and wishing them well on their jazz journey!  

Monday, February 12, 2018

Student Selected for A-JAM Program 2018

Marco Salinas, San Antonio College student drummer and percussionist has been selected as the 2018 A-JAM student representative. Please join me in congratulating Marco and his applied percussion instructor, Joe Caploe of the Palmetto Center for the Arts at Northwest Vista College! Many thanks to our judges, Gregory Gonzales of St. Phillip's College, and Richard Oppenheim of the Musicians Society of San Antonio. Read Marco Salinas' essay below to understand his journey to jazz and A-JAM. We wish him the best on his journey through the A-JAM mentorship program.
"Discovering Jazz On My Way To A-JAM," by Marco Salinas

You can say I've been on the path to A-JAM for a while now. I first heard about this opportunity being involved in the jazz ensemble at San Antonio College. I remember the instructor Mr. Andrew Gignac asking me how long I've been studying jazz, and I said, "I really don’t know, but I just have a feel for it." I can remember first discovering jazz when people mentioned swing! I love the snaps on beats two and four. I discovered so much more in high school from other drummers. They taught me basic patterns, but did a lot of name dropping. I took more from that. This is when I started paying attention to guys like Dave Weckl and Vinnie Colaiuta. A few years later a friend of mine played me some John Coltrane, which led me to Elvin Jones. Listening to these guys and this music you can see that there is a lot going on.

I guess you can say this is why I'm interested in becoming a jazz musician. In a jazz band setup everyone has a responsibility. As a drummer, my main objective is keeping tempo or the beat for the group. I'm also listening and watching the other musicians for any cues. Sometimes a thirty-two bar song can last ten minutes due to solos, and it's very easy to get lost in the form of the song because of these solos, especially when you are trading fours with the band. Of course, jazz has a lot of improvising, which makes jazz seem free. So you can see there's a lot going on in a jazz setting. This is why I'm interested in being a jazz musician.

I expect to give it my all for A-JAM. I'm still learning, and that’s what I love about music or jazz. It seems never ending. I'll come prepared for every session we have and grow from it. Hopefully I can bring something new to the table. I'll bring a positive attitude. I also expect to gain a lot from A-JAM. I want to learn and grow as a musician with the experience I will gain from this wonderful opportunity.