Evan Ringel and Kassem Williams
Given our two nations’ mutual love of jazz, it was fitting that fellow seniors and professors in UNCG’s nationally-renowned Miles Davis Jazz Studies Program traveled to the University of Rennes 2 in Rennes, France, for the program’s first international trip.
And it’s also fitting that Evan Ringel and Kassem Williams, student participants in the once-in-a-lifetime trip, are both recipients of the William F. Black and Susan Elizabeth Brown Endowed Music Scholarship. Mr. Black’s scholarship, honoring his mother “Susie” and the love of music she instilled, provides talented students majoring in Jazz studies programs at UNCG the chance to shine.
Of his time at Rennes 2, Ringel said, “It was an incredible experience. It gave me new excitement and passion about playing jazz.”
The UNCG students and faculty together performed with French musicians, taught jazz clinics and traveled the country to see some of France’s most iconic sights. Next year Rennes students and faculty plan to visit UNCG to collaborate in this newly-formed partnership.
As a small, close-knit group, the Miles Davis Jazz Studies Program allows for such opportunities. UNCG jazz faculty follow a mentorship model that was in full display in France, with students and professors performing, teaching and travelling with one another.
“There’s a collaboration between professors and students that I think is pretty unique among jazz programs,” said Ringel.
“It’s a hands-on experience,” Williams added. “Our professors really support us.”
And so does Mr. William F. Black.
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