By Paige Glenn
CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – After a semester on hiatus because of insufficient enrollment, Camden County College’s jazz ensemble is back for the spring semester, says Assistant Music Professor Michael Billingsley.

Last semester, there was no jazz ensemble because only six people signed up, not enough to keep the program running, Billingsley said. “The college needs 10 people enrolled. Our jazz band is more like a jam band. We enrolled them into ensemble this semester. This allows anyone to play Beatles or jazz music. We brought students to play Beatles ensemble for their credits last semester.”

Billingsley labeled the jazz and Beatles ensemble under ensemble. This opens more doors for students to play both if they want to, he said. “Now we’re back. We have all students to play jazz. Twenty-four students are enrolled in ensemble this semester. You’ve got more students playing popular music. I try to find a bridge for a nice, funkier, rock type of jazz. I think it’s a nice diversity for students.”

Even if there were no jazz ensemble this semester, Billingsley said he would make sure students were able to play jazz. “We go out of our way to make sure they play jazz whether they have a room to themselves and I pop in to check in on them.”

Layne Mossop, college sophomore and music major at Camden County College, is excited jazz ensemble is back for the semester and believes that program is going to grow. “I think that the size would increase. There are many students in the music program.”

Mossop said he enjoyed jazz ensemble in the spring 2015 semester but was disappointed to find out it was canceled in the fall 2015. “I was in jazz ensemble the last semester it was offered. I was totally new to the world of jazz, and I thought that it was a really good way to spark interest in new musicians and also teach musicians new to jazz.”

Although last semester the music program had Beatles ensemble, this semester it was changed to a David Bowie ensemble to acknowledge the legendary musician’s recent death. Mossop stated, “The first half of rehearsal is a tribute to David Bowie, and the second half is jazz improv. Most people are in both bands, but we view them as two separate groups. This seems to be working out well. Everyone seems happy with this compromise.”

dennis flyer theatre

Most rehearsals take place on stage in mid-April. By Paige Glenn, CCC Journalism Program

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