Ben Tozier moved to Charlotte as a sophomore in high school, and has been a Youth Ensemble student ever since. He graduates from Trinity Prep High School this year, and has evolved into a successful young musician and young man.
Ben didn’t begin his musical interest until his elementary school introduced all students to the recorder or choir. His parents both had school-aged musical experience, and encouraged him from there to continue music with the saxophone. He attributes his continued interest to his very first band director, Mr. Schroeder. Mr. Schroeder was a professional baritone player who truly cared about the music and his students, adding positive energy to his classroom. Ben feels lucky that all of his ensemble instructors have offered that level of encouragement.
When Ben moved from Louisiana to Charlotte, his family actively sought an ensemble comparable to the one he had been participating with in Baton Rouge that got him “hooked.”
Ben says the most important thing JAI Jazz Ensemble has done for him is confidence. He remembers vividly the first time getting up on stage. It was a smaller place, and the group included a trombone, bassist, 2 guitars, a drummer, and an experienced youth saxophonist further back to give him support. “I was extremely nervous, “ says Ben. “After I played, I thought wow, I just got up in front of people and played jazz.”
That realization is one consistent experience of the Jazz Ensemble that apply to all aspects of our students lives. Ben has a variety of academic interests from airline pilot to medical technician. JAI is proud he has developed skills from his jazz experience that will stay with him to college and beyond.