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                                                               Music Camp

2018 Music Camp Dates:
June 11-14, 2018

View/Print 2018 Handy Music Camp Brochure

View/Print 2017 Handy Music Camp Schedule

View/Print 2018 Handy Music Camp Medical Release Form


    W.C. Handy Music Camp Director Ken Watters announces that applications are being accepted for the 27th W.C. Handy Music Camp, June 11-14, 2018.  The day camp, which will be held on the campus of the University of North Alabama, is designed anyone interested in music theory, private lessons, sectionals, combo, big band, and improvisation performance history.  This year’s instructors will be Director Watters, a trumpeter with five internationally released top 50 jazz albums; Gary Wheat, saxophonist and jazz improvisationalist and teacher who has performs across the country with internationally-acclaimed musical acts; Mark Lanter, drummer, known as one of the top players in the southeastern region who performs, teaches, and travels internationally; Robert Dickson, bassist and guitarist, found strumming regularly in and around New Orleans and Atlanta; Bill Huber, a free-lance trombonist, teacher, and writer in Nashville, TN, with over thirty years’ experience; Josh Couts, a guitarist who specializes in both jazz and classical, and who educates and performs; and Tyrone Jackson, jazz pianist from the Atlanta area.  Drew White, Lyman Mitchell Big Band member and the Shoals own Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, will assist in organizing the camp. 


Deadline for completed Handy Music Camp registration is June 1, 2018.  Information regarding a limited number of scholarships for youth can be had by calling the Handy Festival office at 256-766-7642.  For the music camp registration forms, click here 2018 Handy Camp Brochure or check with local school systems.  The annual W.C. Handy Music Camp is sponsored by the Music Preservation Society and the University of North Alabama Department of Music.  For more information, contact Handy Camp Director Ken Watters at:  256-603-5059.

          W. C. Handy Music Festival
         University of North Alabama
            Jazz Camp Faculty 2018

Ken Watters, Camp Director

    Ken Watters is a Summit Records artist with seven CDs to date released internationally on the label, all of which spent significant time in the top 50 on the US jazz and/or world music charts. He is a Jupiter-XO Professional Brass Artist/Clinician, Facet Mutes Artist & SESAC-affiliated jazz composer. 

     He has performed, recorded and/or toured with Frank Sinatra, Cee-Lo, Natalie ColeJason IsbellCarlos SantanaWyclef JeanMingus Big BandMarc AnthonyToshiko AkiyoshiBig Band, The Fifth Dimension, Dave Valentin, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Scott Colley, Petula Clarke, Richie BeirachEartha KittGregg AllmanDave LiebmanHarry Connick Jr, Phyllis Diller, Mary Gauthier, Ron McClure, Delfeayo Marsalis, Donny McCaslin, Steel PulseRavi ColtraneSteve Coleman, TLC, Kelis, Marvin "Smitty" Smith, Bonnie Bramlett, Chris Potter, Fred Wesley, Richie Cole, Bobby “Blue” Bland, The Haifa (Israel) Symphony Big Band, Darren Barrett, Joel Frahm, Dave Holland, Peter Shickele (AKA “PDQ Bach“), Jack Daniels Silver Cornet Band, The Williamsburg Consort, Dan Gottlieb, Marcus Belgrave, The Platters, Tabou Combo, Kenny Werner, John AbercrombieLittle MiltonClarence Carter, Spoonful James, Tommy Talton (Allman Brothers Band) to name a few… 

                                                               Bill Huber

    Bill Huber is a free-lance trombonist, teacher, and writer in Nashville, TN with over thirty years experience. His breadth of experience includes recording with James Brown, recording with the Nashville and Knoxville jazz Orchestras, playing on the Grand Ole Opry, and performing The Rite of Spring! Bill most enjoys sharing his love of music with those who love it, too.

    Recording Credits: Bob Seegar, Toby Keith, Delbert McClinton (Grammy nominated), The Nashville Jazz Orchestra, The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra, The Modern Jazz Tuba Project, John Oates, etc.

    Performance Credits: Michael Feinstein, The Muscle Shoals All Stars (Lincoln Center and Poretta, Italy), Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Little Richard, Manhattan Transfer, Henry Mancini, The Bowling Green Chamber Orchestra, The Nashville Symphony Orchestra, TPAC/Broadway Musicals and many others.

    Featured Performer/Clinician: Artist in Residence at Blair School of Music, Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra, the International Trombone Festival, the University of Tennessee, W.C. Handy Music Festival, the International Tuba & Euphonium Conference, Governor’s School, etc. 

    Instructor/Master Classes/Band Camps: Adjunct instructor of Trombone and Euphonium at Trevecca Nazarene University and Cumberland University. Master classes and taught summer camps at the University of Tennessee (Knoxville and Cookeville), The University of North Florida, Blair School of Music, The University of North Alabama, and elsewhere.

    Fun Facts:  Loves coffee, his Minick Trombone, sesquipedalianism, and his dog, Porkchops (“Chops” for short).

Tyronne Jackson

    The name Tyrone Jackson is quickly becoming synonymous with the quintessential jazz
piano player. His boundless creativity coupled with subtle accompaniments, has Tyrone poised for national recognition.

    Born in the New Orleans cradle of jazz, Jackson embodies the spirit of the Crescent City. The blends of jazz, funk and afro-carribean melodies are ever present in his work. But of course, musicians are never solely influenced by themselves. Jackson’s teachers are a virtual Who’s Who of great jazz piano players ranging from Ellis Marsalis, Mary Ann Bulla to gospel/classical legend Moses Hogan.

    As a composer, Jackson has composed original music for Pulitizer Prize winning author Natasha Tretheway's book of poems "Native Guard" turned theatrical play at the Alliance Theater. Jackson has also composed for Pearl Clege's play, "Tell Me My Dream" and this past seasons success story, "Ethel". Additionally, Jackson’s work in “Native Guard” was premiered in Los Angeles, CA at the famous Sage Hills Academy from January 9-15, 2017.
In addition to his composition skills, the jazz wonder is most known for his compelling solos.
Jackson’s improvisational skills allow him to become a part of the song whether he softly highlights ballads or tears through fast-paced standards.

    Jackson has performed with Steve Turre, Larry Carlton, Carmen Bradford, Earl Klugh, Melba Moore, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, Vincent Gardner, Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas, Wes Anderson, Greg Dawson, Jennifer Holliday, Karen Briggs, Clay Jenkins, Russell Gunn, David Sanchez, Damaris Carbough, Russell Malone, Marcus Miller along with opening for Esperanza Spaulding, Gerald Albright, Spyro Gyra and the Crusaders, and Chaka Kahn. He also toured Italy and Austria with the UNO Jazz Band; toured Brazil with Michael Ward; Toured Thule,Greenland and performed with FutureMan (Roy Wooton) in Mableton, Ga.

    His latest CD “Melody in Nede” is his third solo release. He has also recorded "Dedicated" and second CD, "Another Voyage" with label Hot Shoe Records. His songs are currently played with much acclaim to worldwide audiences on XM 70 Satellite radio. Jackson was also featured in Jazziz Magazine and selected articles in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

    Currently Tyrone Jackson is a professor at Kennesaw State University where he is Lecturer of Jazz Piano and teaches a myriad of classes including: Jazz Improvisation I, II & III, Jazz Combo, Applied Jazz Piano, Group Jazz Piano and History of the Blues. Jackson is also a clinician and teacher for the Rialto Arts Jazz program for middle school and is a clinician for Clayton County Arts Association.

Mark Lanter

    Performing professionally since the age of 14, Mark Lanter has maintained a busy and varied musical career.  As one of the top drum set players in the southeastern region, he continues a steady schedule of performance and teaching.  His first recordings appeared while in high school with Trans Improvisation artists Davey Williams and LaDonna Smith.  Pataphisical Reveue (Alcohol Records) and From the One That Cut You have maintained a steady cult following since the late 1970s.  While attending the University of Alabama he traveled and recorded with numerous regional acts including legendary Muscle Shoals recording artist Tippy Armstrong. 

     Most recent recordings include Gabriel Tajeu,, Southern Skies 2016, released on Sweet Soul Records as co-producer, c-writer, and drums, and Producer, Co-Writer and Performer on Gabriel Tajeu’s debut album,“ Finding My Way” (2013) Sweet Soul records, The Steve Sample Legacy Project, GRL-SGS Records(2016),Service To Man soundtrack(2016), Songs In The Key Of Love,Anita Besong (2016), the Crimson Quartet (2010, Right Action Figures (2008) Henri’s Notions, Trip To The Cottage (2007), Tom Wolfe, Simple Peace (2001) and regional independent artists Downright, Downright, (2001), and Hidden Agenda (2003). Also, Lanter’s eBook and online course, The Beatles and the Restoration of Western Art Music, has been published by Kendall / Hunt and is currently offered at UAB.

     Over the years, Lanter has performed and/or recorded with such notables including Michael Hedges, Mose Alison, Eric Essix (Nova Records), Vova Nova (Chameleon Records), Mundel Lowe, Giacomo Gates, Boots Randolph, James Peterson, Willi King, Big Bo and Little Whit, Microwave Dave, Tom Wolfe, Ken Watters, Topper Price and the Upsetters, Otiel Burbridge, Chuck Redd, Robert Redd, Victor Atkins, Marlon Jordan, Stephanie Jordan, Rachel Jordan, Kent Jordan, Ed Miller, Brian McNeill, Vladislav Lavrik and Maxim Rubtsov from the Russian National Symphony, Simon Gulliver, Danny Gotlieb, John Beck, Ron McCurdy, and many others. Recent tours include a tour in Colombia South America with the UA Jazz Faculty (2008), and a tour of Israel with Henri’s Notions headlining the Jacob’s Ladder festival (2010).

    He is also a regular performing with numerous jazz artists at the W.C. Handy Music Festival in Florence Alabama. and he currently resides in Birmingham, Alabama performing sold out shows with The Black Jacket Symphony, Henri’s Notions, the UA Jazz Faculty, Druid City Jazz Orchestra, and his own groups Bonus Round, The Peytones, The Redcoats, and The Lizard Kings, and new concert series and live “Rocumentary,” The Maverick Lounge Series,while teaching private lessons and Jazz Studies at the University of Alabama, and African American Music, Jazz History, and Music Appreciation at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. Mark Lanter has earned a BA in Music at The University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a MM in Arranging at the University of Alabama

Robert Dickson

    Originally from Montgomery, Alabama, Robert Dickson received a Bachelor of Music degree in classical double bass performance from the University of Alabama and a Master of Music in jazz studies from the University of New Orleans. He has worked with many jazz greats including Victor Atkins, Scotty Barnhart, Terri Lynne Carrington, Evan Christopher, Jerry Coker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bill Goodwin, Danny Gottlieb, Matt Lemmler, Mundell Lowe, Lou Marini, Ron McCurdy, Jason Marsalis, Steve Masakowski, Irvin Mayfield, Davy Mooney, Paula Morelenbaum, Jacques Morelenbaum, Shannon Powell, Chuck Redd, Jacques Schwarz-Bart, Lew Soloff, and Johnny Vidacovich.
     Dickson was adjunct instructor of bass at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary from 2004-2005.  From 2006-2016, he was an instructor with the Rialto Jazz for Kids program in Atlanta, GA and directed jazz combos with the Rialto Youth Jazz Orchestra of Atlanta from 2011-2016.  Dickson taught jazz bass at Georgia State University from 2006-2016.  He currently teaches jazz and classical bass at the Atlanta International School and at the Lovett School in Atlanta, Georgia.

Josh Couts

    Josh has a Masters degree in Modern American Music from Longy School of Music of Bard College and a Bachelors degree in music from University of Alabama in Huntsville.  During his formal studies at Longy and UAH, he studied both classical music on nylon string guitar and jazz on the electric guitar making him a well-rounded performer and educator in these genres and others.
   Josh started his college education in music at The Ohio State University but left after a year upon being accepted into the Army Bands Program.  He spent four years in the Army, with most of that time being spent at Redstone Arsenal with the Army Material Command Band.  While in the 389th Army band, he was part of over 200 musical performances with different groups, including a jazz orchestra, three to six piece jazz combo, a popular music ensemble, wind ensemble, and solo jazz and classical guitar.  He was part of many educational outreach programs while with the band including master classes and performances at universities, high schools, and middle schools.  During his time with the 389th Army Band, Josh was able to take night classes and finish his undergraduate degree at UAH. 
    Upon completing his four-year contract with the Army, Josh and his wife Megan moved to Boston so he could pursue his Masters degree at Longy School of Music.  At Longy, he studied jazz improvisation concepts with Mark Zaleski and Leo Blanco and classical guitar with William Riley.  Josh grew as a jazz composer and arranger during his time at Longy as he studied George Russell’s Lydian Chromatic Concepts with Ben Schwendener and helped arrange music for many of the ensembles he was involved in.  While living in Boston, Josh was able to perform and record as a freelance musician outside of Longy with many notable musicians including Mark Zaleski, Sohyun Hong, George Garzone, John Lockwood and grammy winner Mark Walker.
    After receiving his Masters degree, Josh moved back to Huntsville, AL with his wife Megan, where he is part of many performing music projects and works as a guitar instructor and music educator.

Gary Wheat

    Gary Wheat has been performing and teaching professionally in Birmingham for 15 years. After studying with Dr. Jonathan Noffsinger at the University of Alabama and earning his Jazz Studies Bachelor’s degree, Mr. Wheat moved to Birmingham to play with his first band, Meteorite, and to travel across the country to play with national touring musical acts such as the Temptations, the Four Tops, the O’Jays, Percy Sledge, and Frankie Valli. At home, he has logged countless hours at gigs and jam sessions with local jazz names like Cleve Eaton, Bo Berry, Chad Fisher, and Tommy Stewart.
    Mr. Wheat has taught saxophone and jazz in private and in class settings since August 2000, building relationships with band directors at most Birmingham metro area public middle and high schools. He also has years of college-level teaching experience at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  He released his first album, comprised of original modern jazz pieces, in the summer of 2016. It is entitled Star Child and is available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon music, and other online retailers.



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