Longwood University
Jazz Ensembles

The jazz program at Longwood University consists of two 18-piece ensembles and two small groups, under the overall direction of Dr. Charles Kinzer, Professor of Music.

The Longwood Jazz Ensemble A was established in 1980 by Professor Allen Butler.   It is structured in the traditional big band format, and its repertoire includes music from all periods of jazz history with emphasis on swing, latin, and jazz-rock styles.  Open to all LU students by audition, it presents a series of on- and off-campus concerts each year.  The Jazz Ensemble A is made up primarily of students majoring in music.  In recent years, the ensemble has performed in Norfolk, Richmond, Lynchburg, and throughout the Southside region of Virginia.  In the spring of 2000 the ensemble traveled to New Orleans to perform at the Riverwalk adjacent to the French Quarter.  Since 1994 the LU Jazz Ensemble A has performed often at the annual UNCW Jazz Festival in Wilmington, NC.  In the spring of 2006 six members won outstanding performance awards at the festival: Nathan Koch, tenor saxophone; Stephen Harmon, trumpet; Drew Burges, guitar; Ben Titus, bass; Adam Stratton, piano; and Chris Tobey, drums.  Alumni from the Jazz Ensemble A have gone on to become professional performers in the Richmond and Northern Virginia areas, as well as earning graduate music degrees at such institutions as East Carolina University and the University of Maryland.  The band performs once each year with a guest artist; recent guests have included Graham Breedlove (trumpet) and John DeSalme (sax) of the U.S. Army Blues jazz ensemble.

The Jazz Ensemble B was formed in 1996 as a night-time rehearsal band.  Since then it has become a regular 18-piece ensemble with a full schedule of performances.  In the fall of 2006 the group will be directed by saxophonist Andrew Brock, a 1998 alumnus of  LU and fulltime band director in Chester, VA.  The Jazz Ensemble B is made up of a mix of music majors and non-majors.  It performs on and off-campus, and has traveled to high schools in Appomattox, Prince Edward, and Charlotte counties in recent years.  The Jazz Ensemble B playes a wide variety of music, ranging from swing to jazz-rock fusion.  Many of the members of both jazz ensembles perform in the Phi Mu Alpha pep band for LU's basketball team.

In May 2005 both jazz ensembles traveled to New York City for a performance at the Grace Plaza, on Avenue of the Americas near Times Square.


Open auditions for FALL 2006: 1 trumpet, 2 trombones, 2 sax.  If interested, please e-mail Dr. Kinzer at kinzerce@longwood.edu.


Outstanding Musicians, 2005-06:

Jazz Ensemble A - most valuable player, Nathan Koch; best leader, Adam Stratton; most improved, Andy Rastelli and Chris Tobey.
Jazz Ensemble B - most valuable player, Drew Burges; best leader, Bob Risacher; most improved, Tracy Debner and Greg Scott.

Outstanding Musicians, 2004-05:

Jazz Ensemble A - most valuable player, Nathan Koch; best leader, Derek Ramsey; most improved, Maurice Ellis.
Jazz Ensemble B - most valuable player, Reese Flory; best leader, Bob Risacher; most improved, Chris Tobey.

Photo gallery:

2004 - At the UNCW festival with clinician Ingrid Jensen


2004 - At Wrightsville Beach, NC (UNCW festival)


2004 - LU Jazz Ensemble B with John DeSalme (left, tenor sax), guest artist


1998 - LU Jazz Ensemble A


1994 - Longwood Jazz Ensemble


1989 - Longwood Jazz Ensemble