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Hayes School of Music Alumni Ensemble Members Nominated for 4 Grammys for Jazz Categories

BOONE, N.C.—The nominees for the 60th Grammy Awards were recently announced, and three alumni of Appalachian State University’s Hayes School of Music (HSOM) are members of an ensemble nominated for four Grammys in the Jazz and Composing/Arranging categories.

Jay Coble ’81 (trumpet), Jack Wilkins ’82 (tenor saxophone) and Matt Vance ’91 (baritone saxophone) are members of Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge, an 18-piece jazz ensemble based in Tampa, Florida. The group’s most recent album release, “Whispers on the Wind” (MAMA Records, 2017), received two nominations in the Jazz category: Best Improvised Jazz Solo for the song “Can’t Remember Why,” and Best Large Jazz Ensemble. The album also received nominations in the Composing/Arranging category, including Best Instrumental Composition and Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella for the songs “Warped Cowboy” and “All Hat, No Saddle,” respectively.

“Whispers on the Wind” is the ensemble’s sixth album and the third to receive Grammy nominations, following “Comet’s Tail: Performing the Compositions of Michael Brecker” (MAMA Records, 2009) and “River Runs: A Concerto for Jazz Guitar, Saxophone and Orchestra” (MAMA Records, 2013).

Burlington native Coble, professor of trumpet at the University of South Florida (USF) and Yamaha Performing Artist, received his undergraduate degree in trumpet performance from Appalachian and studied with Joe Phelps, professor emeritus of music at the HSOM.

Wilkins, a native of Greensboro, is also a Yamaha Performing Artist and is the director of jazz studies at USF. He received his saxophone performance undergraduate degree from Appalachian under the tutelage of Dr. William Gora, professor emeritus of music at the HSOM. Wilkins served as director of jazz studies at the HSOM from 1986 to 1989.

Vance, a Boone native, received his undergraduate degree in saxophone performance from Appalachian’s HSOM and studied with Dr. William Gora, Jack Wilkins and Dr. Jon Beebe, professor of bassoon at the HSOM. Vance serves as woodwind product specialist/manager for Buffet Crampon USA, which is the North American distributor for France-based Buffet Crampon Group — the world’s largest producer of professional wind and brass instruments.

The winners of the 60th Grammy Awards will be announced Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, and will be broadcast live from Madison Square Garden on the CBS television network.

Matt Vance ’91, baritone saxophonist in the jazz ensemble, Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge. Photo submitted


Jack Wilkins ’82, tenor saxophonist with the jazz ensemble, Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge. Photo submitted


Jay Coble ’81, trumpeter for the jazz ensemble, Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge. Photo submitted


About the Hayes School of Music

The Hayes School of Music prepares young musicians for professional lives as performers, composers, music educators, music therapists, conductors and music industry professionals, ensuring the next generation of musical leadership for the state, region and nation. Noted for quality instruction by national and internationally recognized faculty musicians, the school offers four undergraduate degree programs and three graduate-level programs.