Cool jazz in hot summertime

Freedom. In mid-summer, many people associate freedom with fireworks and picnics. For Cameron Cook of Mooresville, N.C., an incoming first-year student at UNC-Chapel Hill, freedom means playing his saxophone.

Cook, who has been playing the saxophone for the past eight years and plans to major in music at UNC, was one of about 40 students who participated in the first summer jazz workshop in early July. UNC’s music department in College of Arts and Sciences hosted the workshop.

“There are so many different things you can do with this genre of music,” he said.

Stephen Anderson, an assistant professor of music, directed the workshop and said UNC’s workshop is one of the only programs in the country in which a student can earn up to three hours of college credit in one week. The workshop was also open to high school students and community members.

The schedule included jazz theory classes in the morning, followed by practice and combo sessions in the afternoon and public concerts every evening, most of which were conducted in the Kenan Music Building.

The opening concert was held on the Polk Place lawn and featured a special guest, UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp on bass guitar.

Cook said he especially appreciated the one-on-one aspect of the camp.

“The professors are great,” he said. “When we come here, we’re really challenged to do new things.”

The music department plans to continue the new jazz tradition next summer.

[ Story, photos and video by Mary Lide Parker ’10 ]