College-Community Jazz Ensemble to Present Spring Concert April 19

The Potomac State College of WVU College-Community Jazz Ensemble will take the stage on Tuesday, April 19, at 7:30 pm for their annual spring concert. The band features five trumpets, four trombones, five saxes, bass, piano, and drums, and this year will feature a guest trombone soloist, Rhoades Whitehill, who is retired from the United States Navy Band Commodores Jazz Ensemble. In addition to Whitehill, the band features several soloists from the trumpet section, trombones, saxophones, bass, piano and drums.

This year’s program features a variety of musical styles including swing, samba, Dixieland, salsa, vocal, jazz waltz, and funky rock. Some of the more familiar titles include: Fly Me To The Moon, You’re Just In Love, and Bye Bye Blackbird. Other featured titles include Tall Cotton, North Africa, Bone Case Full Of Blues, Manteca, Waltzing The Blues, and Act Your Age. Rhoades Whitehill has contributed three of the arrangements to be played during the concert. 

This semester the jazz ensemble, under the direction of Mr. Fred Kesner, Band Director at Frankfort Middle School, has also staged a jazz festival featuring Keyser, Frankfort, and Mountain Ridge High Schools and Washington Middle School. 

The predecessor of the College-Community Jazz Ensemble was begun in 1959 when Philip Faini was the director of the stage band at Potomac State College. Charles Whitehill, Ph.D., continued this group from 1961 to 1996, at which time Fred Kesner became the director when Dr. Whitehill retired. Of the 17-member musical ensemble, 10 members are active or retired music teachers while others work in various professions. This jazz ensemble is very unique to the area and definitely worth a trip to the Church-McKee Arts Center at Potomac State. The concert is free and open to the public.

Guest Trombone Soloist

Rhoades WhitehillA 1980 graduate of Keyser High School, Rhoades was active in band, regional and state honor bands, solo and ensemble festivals, jazz camps at WVU, and the McDonald’s All-American Band and Jazz Ensemble. 

After attending West Virginia University he became a member of the United States Naval Academy Band in 1982. During his tenure Rhoades performed with the band's Wind Ensemble, Big Band, Brass Quintet, and Superintendent's Combo. In 1996 he became the lead trombonist for the U.S. Navy Band's Commodores Jazz Ensemble and continued in that capacity until his retirement from military service in 2002. During his tenure with the Navy Commodores, Rhoades traveled extensively throughout the United States and Europe. 

Rhoades taught at the Baltimore School for the Arts and is the Reading Clerk for the Maryland House of Delegates. A long association with the Zim Zemarel Orchestra began in 1986 where he has served as lead trombonist and arranger as well as a member of the quintet. A published writer, Rhoades has written many of the group's musical arrangements. 

Currently, in addition to his duties with the Maryland General Assembly, he performs widely in big bands, Dixieland bands and in the Bayfield Brass Quintet of which he is a founding member and lead arranger. 

Several of his arrangements will be performed during the program with Rhoades playing solos as well as singing.