Well, hello everyone!
It has been a while since I’ve written anything or given any update to those I don’t regularly run into anymore. I don’t peruse FaceBook anymore because I just found it depressing to discover people that I know are actually racist bigots and were hiding their true self from our interactions. So, I left FaceBook to just concentrate on my studies and music. I kept my FB account so that I could still post on Richard Dole Music and Have You Heard pages.
Anyway, I’m in my second semester of my Doctorate of Musical Arts in Jazz Performance here at the University of Illinois. I’m diving into as many classes as I can, studying as much as I need to, reading as much as time allows, and never practicing enough. Lessons with Jim Pugh are pretty amazing each and every week. I never thought that I would be playing saxophone etudes or french horn etudes on bass trombone, but here we are. My playing has improved more than I could have imagined and I’m playing things I didn’t think were possible only a few months ago.
The Jazz Department here at University of Illinois is pretty damn deep! We have 15 (YES 15!!!) ensembles and each ensemble has 3 performances a SEMESTER! That’s 90 jazz gigs to check out each school year! AMAZING! I run a Jazz Trombone Ensemble, co-lead a big band, and play in a Jazz Trombone Ensemble and the Repertory Jazz Orchestra directed by Jim Pugh. All performances from these groups can be found on the Jazz at Illinois YouTube Channel. (link below)
Stacy, my sweet and beautiful wife, has been an amazing partner through all of this. She is succeeding beyond imagination at her job, and getting our two children (now 7 and 5) to two different schools and their after school activities. I don’t know how she does it. She is a superstar!
My days are long. I try to get to school between 7 or 7:30am to practice. Then I have classes and rehearsals until 9pm Monday through Wednesday. Thursday, I’m done at 4pm, and Friday 2pm which is when I drive two hours back to Indy to remind my family what I look like! That is, I drive home when I don’t have gigs/performances here at Illinois…*sigh*
Well, that’s the update. Classes are rocking, ensembles sound great. I love being in front of a band and I really enjoy building up this jazz community through a bi-weekly Listening Lounge, and a soon to be started Reading Big Band (debut performance will be April 10th at the Rose Bowl Tavern in Urbana!)
I’ll try to post more regularly. Sorry to go on for so long, thanks for sticking around!!
Here is the link to the Jazz at Illinois YouTube page. This link will bring you to the Repertory Jazz Orchestras performance last Friday at our weekly Jazz Forum where all the jazz area students gather and hear a performance from one of the 15 jazz ensembles. Check it out! The band is killin’ and it’s a fun little tour through big band jazz arranging history!