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Tapping your feet to the beat of swing jazz

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October 27, 2011

Cliff Towner is a band geek — a trumpet player.

He picked up his first trumpet when he was in the
fifth grade. His trumpet — a 75th anniversary Bach Stradivarius— perches alongside his music stand in his Porter Hall office on the Georgia College campus.

Towner’s love of making music has shaped his career. The Jazz Band practices swing music for its upcoming performances Thursday, Nov. 3 and Friday, Nov. 4 in Russell AuditoriumThe Jazz Band practices swing music for its upcoming performances Thursday, Nov. 3 and Friday, Nov. 4 in Russell AuditoriumIn July he became Georgia College’s director of band

“Growing up I was good at music and math,” said Dr. Towner. “Music was more fun.”

Towner will lead the Georgia College Jazz Band in this year’s first performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3 and Friday, Nov. 4 in Russell Auditorium.

And the music is fun.

The 15-member jazz band and two vocalists will entertain with “Swing” — big band jazz music developed during the early 1930s and 1940s with danceable beats made famous by Benny Goodman, Count Basie and others.

“The music should spark a memory and make you want to get up and dance,” Towner said.“The show will make you want to tap your foot to the beat and hum the melodies on the way home.”

And back by popular demand, Dr. Bob Wilson returns this year as the jazz band’s master of ceremonies.

Towner and the jazz band have worked together during the past three months to raise the ensembles’ artistic levels.

“The jazz band has a really nice balance of different sections, upper and lower classmen, experience and fresh ideas,” said Towner, who also directs the university wind symphony and pep band.

Prior to his arrival at Georgia College, Towner taught band at a high school and a smaller, private liberal arts college.

He earned his doctorate of musical arts from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master’s degree in music education at Wright State University in Ohio. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music education at University of Cincinnati in Ohio.

Georgia College’s liberal arts mission attracted Towner to the university.

“I believe in a liberal arts education, educating the whole student,” Towner said. “And I really like the size of Georgia College. Besides, Milledgeville seems like a great place to raise my family.”

Tickets for the Georgia College Jazz Band perfor- mances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3 and Friday, Nov. 4 in Russell Auditorium are $5 at the door.

For more information call the Georgia College Department of Music at (478) 445-8289.

ABOUT GEORGIA COLLEGE: Georgia College, the state’s designated Public Liberal Arts University, combines the educational experience expected at esteemed private liberal arts colleges with the affordability of public higher education. Its four colleges – arts and sciences, business, education and health sciences – provide 6,600 undergraduate and graduate students with an exceptional learning environment that extends beyond the classroom, with hands-on involvement with faculty research, community service, study abroad and myriad internships.

Founded in 1889, Georgia College boasts one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation with Corinthian columns fronting red brick buildings and wide open green spaces. Georgia College also offers graduate education at the historic Jefferson building in downtown Macon, at Robins Air Force Base and online.

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For more information, contact University Communications at (478) 445-4477.