Eric Spencer, a junior trombone performance major from Augusta, Georgia, will spend 11 weeks 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.
Spencer is one of three tenor trombonists chosen from numerous colleges and universities throughout the nation, including schools like the University of North Texas, University of Southern California, Cal State University at Northridge, Michigan State University and Florida State University. Although there are three tenor trombone positions, there is only one jazz soloist chair in the section.
“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 GSU has really has paid off.”
From May through August, Spencer will perform five days a week with the band and internationally known artists at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The band serves as the “house band” for shows at the resort. Students selected for the band will also complete a major educational project that will reflect one of these tracks: Composition and Arranging; Careers in Music; Recording and Production. Spencer will also have the chance to record at Capitol Records in Los Angeles.
“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., associate professor of trombone and low brass at Georgia Southern.
Also while in California, Mason has arranged for Spencer to study trombone with several “first call” Los Angeles studio trombonists including Iles.
According to Mason, this is the first time a student from Georgia Southern has been selected for the Disneyland All-American Band. To be selected, applicants go through a two-round audition process. The first round includes a video submission, followed by a live audition in the second round. The live auditions were held in Tallahassee, Florida; Boston and Los Angeles.
“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.”
The Disneyland All-American College Band is fundamentally a 19-piece jazz band sponsored by Disney Resorts and Yamaha Band Instruments. The program has been a tradition at Disneyland Resorts since 1971, and gives top college musicians from the United States the opportunity to perform and learn about the entertainment industry.