Eric Spencer, a junior trombone performance major, is spending this summer performing with top college musicians from around the country after winning the jazz trombone soloist chair in the 2015 Disneyland All-American College Band. The band serves as the “house band” for shows at Disneyland, and five days a week, Spencer is performing for thousands of tourists at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California.
The talented musician is one of three tenor trombonists chosen from numerous colleges and universities throughout the nation, including schools like the University of Southern California, Michigan State and Florida State University. Although there are three tenor trombone positions, there is only one jazz soloist chair in the section.
To be selected for the band, Spencer survived a two-round audition process, which included a video submission in the first round, and a live audition in the second round. “Knowing that so many of the top musicians in the country like Alex Iles, Harry Watters and Craig Gosnell, got their start in this band made me realize what a challenge it would be to make the band, but that made me want to audition even more,” said Spencer. “Being selected means that the hard work and preparation I’ve put in since day one of attending Georgia Southern has really has paid off.”
Spencer is the recipient of the Carol A. Carter Music Scholarship, the Lewis Stewart Jazz Scholarship and the T.J. Morris Company Scholarship, and this spring he was awarded the Lon Carnes Music Scholarship for the 2015-16 academic year.
“These scholarships have allowed me to continue to attend school here at Georgia Southern,” Spencer said. “Without these scholarships, service awards and Georgia’s Hope Scholarship, I wouldn’t be able to attend school without going into debt.”
“Winning the jazz trombone soloist chair in the Disney All-American College Band is an extremely significant accomplishment for Eric, and, potentially, this opportunity could be a most important springboard for the start of Eric’s professional career,” said Rick Mason, D.M.A., professor of trombone and low brass at Georgia Southern.
The professor said this is the first time the Disneyland All-American Band has selected a Georgia Southern student. “Eric is an exceptional musician, well versed in both the traditional classical styles of trombone playing necessary for symphonic work as well as the commercial jazz style,” Mason added. “I’m very proud to know he received the foundation of his professional skills and was afforded the opportunities to develop into the internationally ranked trombonist he has become from Georgia Southern University.”
This 11-week opportunity also gives the Georgia Southern student the chance to record at Capitol Records in Los Angeles. In addition, Mason has arranged for Spencer to study trombone with several “first call” Los Angeles studio trombonists. – Crissie Elrick
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