VJC Big Band
The VJC Big Band was conceived by former board president, Dr. Howard Brofsky and Sherm Fox. They put together a “reading” band that enabled area professional musicians to come together to sample big band repertoire. It has evolved into a top-notch ensemble that draws on the talent of professional musicians from within an hour’s drive of Brattleboro. The Big Band performs at our First Friday of December Scholarship Fundraiser or when gigs arise (it was featured in the 2017 Berkshire Jazz Fest with vocalist, Wanda Houston). Each year the VJC hosts one or more guest artists to perform with the ensemble. The big band celebrated 16 years in 2018 thanks in great part to Fox’s persistence and organizational efforts.
The performers of the 2018 VJC Big Band were: Don Anderson, Rick Anderson, Charlie Schneeweis and Rob Freeberg (trumpets); Michael Zsoldos, Sherm Fox, Bob Stabach, Larry Tutt and Nick Pelton (woodwinds); John Wheeler, Bob Thies and Caroline Cole (trombones), and rhythm section members Steve Cady (bass), Steve Rice (drums), Eugene Uman (piano).
Rob Freeberg serves as the VJC Big Band’s musical director. Freeberg was head of the jazz program at New Rochelle High School, conducted a youth orchestra at Lincoln Center and led his own professional, award-winning large ensemble.
Guest Artists who have appeared with the VJC Big Band:
- 2018 – Artie Shaw Orchestra Members: Matt Koza, Kerry McKillop, John Wheeler, Sarah Hayes
- 2017 – Kevin Mahogany and Dave Stryker
- 2016 – Wanda Houston (tribute to Ella Fitzgerald)
- 2015 – Rich Greenblatt (vibraphonist, tribute to Terry Gibbs), with vocalists Mark Anagnostopulos and Jill Connolly
- 2014 – Rebecca Holtz and Rob Fletcher (tribute to Sinatra)
- 2013 – Kevin Mahogany
- 2012 – Houston Person
- 2011 – Eguie Castrillo (tribute to Tito Puente)
- 2010 – Amanda Carr and Mark Anagnostopulos
- 2009 – Sarah Elizabeth Charles and Mark Anagnostopulos
- 2008 – Scott Mullett – Tribute to Basie
- 2007 – Samirah Evans
- 2004 – Rod Levitt (composer and trombonist with Gil Evans/Miles Davis)