The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Stitzel leading South Campus jazz students, lab bands

Rick Stitzel, South Campus music assistant professor, works with one of three lab jazz bands. The bands perform for campus and community events.  Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian
Rick Stitzel, South Campus music assistant professor, works with one of three lab jazz bands. The bands perform for campus and community events. Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian

By Andrea Cornett/reporter

Rick Stitzel, South Campus music assistant professor, works with one of three lab jazz bands. The bands perform for campus and community events.  Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian
Rick Stitzel, South Campus music assistant professor, works with one of three lab jazz bands. The bands perform for campus and community events. Photo by Sarah McVean/The Collegian

Increasing student enrollment in South Campus jazz studies accounts for three performing jazz bands and an annual High School Jazz Festival.

The music department offers jazz studies, a program designed in the ’60s, but which continues to attract alumni as well as area youth each year.

Jazz instructor Rick Stitzel leads the jazz studies program on South Campus, He has a master’s degree in jazz studies and extensive teaching experience.

How long has TCC offered a jazz studies program?
Stitzel: The jazz studies program originated in the 1960s when TCC was known as Tarrant County Junior College. The program originated at the NE Campus. Currently, courses are offered at NE, NW and South campuses.

Has there been a rise or decline in program enrollment in recent years?
There has been a rise in jazz studies in the last four years as there have been improvements to the program within the last several years.

What do you think is the contributing factor to the rise in enrollment here at the South Campus?
TCC South hosts the annual High School Jazz Festival each spring in the month of May. This year the festival is scheduled for May 9. The annual festival is a competition with approximately 400 high school students competing for trophies. One of the TCC lab jazz bands performs, and each year we have a host. This year Lou Marini, “Blue Lou” from the Blues Brothers, will perform. This event is a huge recruitment opportunity for the campus.

What exactly does the jazz program encompass?

The program includes singers and instrumentalists. There are no auditions, no exclusions. All performers are placed in a sequential order or leveling system according to skill. Private lessons are available for credit and offer interested individuals the opportunity for one-on-one teaching.

Do students in the program compete?
No.

Do students perform in the community or are all performances at TCC?
Students are exposed to both, 10-12 total per semester. Most of our community performances are honorariums for local charities.

Were great jazz performers of the past educated?
In the 1950s, no. Norah Jones, modern jazz singer, yes. She attended UNT’s program, one of the best in the nation, and she is from Grapevine, Texas.

What can students do with a music degree?

Teach. There is a large demand for music teachers both in the public sector and private sector. One can also become a performer.

Stitzel freelances as a musician performing with jazz greats, like Natalie Cole, the Temptations and the Pointer Sisters. When not teaching, he is busy composing music for jazz bands for the Hal Leonard Corporation. For more information regarding the TCC lab jazz band, call 817-515-4648.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian