Meeting the masters

Local guitarist preps for launch of musicians collaborative

On Thursday, August 22, 2019, the day before his quartet performed at the 2019 Annual Blue Jay Jazz Festival, saxophonist Eric Marienthal held an afternoon Master Class at Rim of the World High School. He worked primarily with students in the Rim jazz band, lead by Rim’s Music Director Kari Bush, but clearly made an impression on community members, media and other young people who had turned out for this special mountain community music event.

The Master Class program is one of several run each year by the Blue Jay Jazz Foundation. Trumpeter Ron Stout is among those who have held a class for students on the mountain. Each Master Class provides an opportunity for students who are actively playing instruments to hear about the life of a professional musician, their routines, discipline as well as inspirations and life stories.

Master classes by professional musicians provides inspiration along with the instruction.

Among those in attendance was The Alpine Mountaineer‘s Mary-Justine Lanyon, who reported that after playing his alto sax for the students, he told a story that hearkened back to an age, like theirs, when he was just getting started – and some of the things that happen early on that can have lasting importance.

The saxophone was one he bought years ago, Lanyon wrote, after borrowing $400 from his father. “I have plenty of shiny horns but I like this one – it’s still my favorite,” he told the students.

One of the most important points any professional will make in talking to those getting started is the value – necessity – or practice. You must practice on your own, he told them. “You can’t get it done in an hourlong band time.”

Photos: Top, At Eric Marienthal’s Master Class, held at Rim High School prior to opening night of the 2019 Blue Jay Jazz Festival, senior Logan Arrowood (trumpet) and Will Rubio (drums) played with Marienthal. (Mary-Justine Lanyon, Alpine Mountaineer)