Vermont Jazz Center Sextet

Rob Freeberg, trumpet, moved to Vermont after 30 years as Director of Bands at New Rochelle High School, New York. He also directed a professional big band, a community jazz band and the Iona College Pep Band, and performed as a free-lance trumpeter in the metropolitan NY area. Rob currently directs VJC’s Big Band, serves on its Board of Directors and has taught in its Summer Jazz Workshop. He also performs with the Windham Philharmonic, directs the Jazz Workshop and coaches chamber ensembles at Brattleboro Union HS, and has taught classes at Bellows Falls Union HS and the Putney School.

Bill Ballard, alto sax, fell in love with jazz after seeing Louis Armstrong & His All-Stars while in 3d grade. Bill’s experience ranges from the Army Band at Ft. Bliss, Texas, to soul bands, to numerous bebop ensembles and jazz arrangements. He has worked as a piano technician for 50 years, maintaining and tuning many fine and historic instruments in the Brattleboro area.

Ron Kelley, tenor sax, toured with the Bread and Puppet Theater as a young adult and led a New Orleans style jazz band in New York City. He was a music teacher at Leland and Gray Union High School from 1994–2017 where he taught middle school band, vocal music, samba band, and JV Jazz Band. He was on the faculty of the Governor’s Institute on the Arts from 1994 to 2017. Currently, he is playing in a variety of bands throughout Vermont including the Bread and Puppet Circus Band, the Zara Bode Little Big Band, the Celebration Brass Band, The Woodpeckers and Ron Kelley and the Hot Noodles.

Cathy Martin, piano, studied classical music most of her life, and is a graduate of Boston Conservatory of Music. She has enjoyed playing and singing in several wedding and cover bands in the Boston area. She studied jazz piano later in her music career with the late Charlie Banacos, and is always fortunate to have a lesson with VJC Director Eugene Uman. Cathy is a Church Music Director, and also works as an accompanist for local theater and choral groups. She is happy to be in Vermont and a part of the VJC.

Wim Auer, bass, has worked professionally as a musician (now, semi-professionally) in New England since 1975. He spent a year in Cambridge, England playing with the jazz group Antares. He moved to southern Vermont in 1980 and played with well-known area bands, including The Prime Rib Band and Simba. He is a founder of Chroma Technology, where he currently develops business and production control software.

Drummer Steve Rice is the band director and music department head at Brattleboro Union High School where he has served for thirty-five years. He directs the band and jazz band. His work as an educator and leader in the arts has been honored by the Vermont Arts Council, Vermont Music Educators Association, Vermont House of Representatives, Vermont Alliance for Arts Education, and the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union. He is also active as a performing musician throughout the region, playing percussion and drum set in a variety of professional and amateur ensembles, including the Vermont Jazz Center Big Band and the Windham Philharmonic. His teachers have included Joe Hunt and Peter Tanner. 

La Femme Oboe Trio

Practice Session