San Jac’s student jazz band participated in a hands-on workshop with the U.S. Marine Corps Jazz Band on March 3. Led by Gunnery Sergeant Ken Ebo, students received ensemble and teamwork training and were able to play pieces alongside their counterpart in the USMC Jazz Band.
The experience gave students another view of where music could lead them. Positions in the Marine Corps’ Jazz Band, and those of the other military branches, are as highly sought after as those in nationally renowned symphonies. It’s a chance for musicians to share their musical talents around the globe while serving their country.
“Many students are unaware of the musical opportunities available to them in the armed services,” said Lynn Brandt, San Jacinto College Central Campus department chair of music and audio engineering. “It’s important for students to be exposed to all opportunities available to them when making decisions about their next step after graduation.”
The workshop arose after local Marine Corps recruiter Staff Sergeant Samuel Barrera reached out to Brandt and music instructor Graham Tobin last fall. There was an informative presentation for the wind ensemble by the Marine Corps, and when its Jazz Band was going to be in town for this year’s Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, they asked if the College would be interested in hosting a workshop.
During the workshop, GySgt. Ebo took the time to go over the music the San Jac jazz band students were currently working on and gave students guidance on how to engage with it.
“Gunnery Sergeant Ebo is a world class musician and an energetic and engaging educator,” Brandt said. “His approach may have been tailored to the genre of jazz, but the concepts of communication, support, and collaboration are skills which will be applicable to these students in any profession.”
Photos cutline: USMC Gunnery Sergeant Ken Ebo leads a jazz music workshop for San Jacinto College’s jazz ensemble students. Photos by Colton Bennett, San Jacinto College.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, evolving industries, maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has served the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. San Jacinto College is among the top 10 community colleges in the nation as designated by the Aspen Institute for Community College Excellence, and was named an Achieving the Dream Leader College of Distinction in 2020. The College serves approximately 45,000 credit and non-credit students annually, and offers more than 200 degrees and certificates across eight major areas of study that put students on a path to transfer to four-year institutions or enter the workforce. San Jacinto College’s impact on the region totals $1.3 billion in added income, which supports 13,044 jobs. The College is fiscally sound, holding bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s.