Central Wyoming College’s big band, Time’s-A-Wastin’, performs in concert Friday, Feb. 22 with several saxophonists demonstrating improvisational skills.
Headlining the concert is J. Scott Turpen, a University of Wyoming music professor who has performed both jazz and classical saxophone throughout the U.S., Brazil, Canada and Europe. Also highlighted during the concert are some of Turpen’s former students, CWC band director Jason Ogg and Riverton Middle School music teacher Zach Tolman, as well as Riverton High School standout Tom Amend.
The free 7:30 p.m. concert in the Robert A. Peck Arts Center Theatre kicks off CWC’s Saxophone Celebration, a clinic organized by CWC for middle and high school saxophone musicians the following day.
Literature for the concert has been selected because of the “great vehicles for improvisation,” said Ogg, director of Time’s-A-Wastin’. Some of the tunes on the program include “Harlem Nocturne,” by Wayne Hagen, Mercer Ellington’s “Things Ain’t What They Used to Be” and “Crazy, But . . .” by Tom Kubis.
Ogg hopes that music patrons come to the concert to show clinic participants how the community supports the arts.
The saxophone clinic is new to CWC though Ogg plans to add it to the schedule annually to give saxophonists opportunities to work with experienced musicians. In addition to Turpen, UW’s Blake McGee, an assistant professor of clarinet and music history, is also a clinician.
While the pre-clinic concert is all about jazz, the students will receive individualized instruction is classical music as well. Ogg and Turpen will teach master classes to the participants, while Tolman hosts a session on efficient practice habits. McGee will work with saxophone players who “double” on the clarinet.
“We are using this as a development tool for young saxophonists,” Ogg said. “The clinic is giving them something that they aren’t getting anywhere else.”
In addition to his jazz résumé, Turpen has significant orchestral experience. He has been the U.S. representative to the World Saxophone Congress on multiple occasions and has performed with many distinguished artists in jazz and popular music, including Ray Charles, The Temptations and Doc Severinsen.