Support Music

Harpur Jazz Ensemble

Our Focus
The Harpur Jazz Ensemble is a group of talented and passionate students who study and perform big-band repertoire for the community and student body. Over the years they've frequently appeared on and off campus with special guest musicians including, among others, Clark Terry—one of the most recorded musicians in the history of jazz; "Slam" Stewart--jazz bass player; Jennifer Leitham--"the left-handed virtuoso of the upright bass;" and John McNeil--contemporary creative jazz artist.

In the past year the group has seen their budget dwindle despite the enormous impact their civic programs have on the local community as well as undergraduates of all different academic programs.

"Our ensemble doesn't just give these kids an education in music theory, technique, and history. It's an education in community," explains Alumni and crowdfunding organizer Ben Wood. "The friendships and connections we create are for life."

The intent of the campaign is to raise funds for new instruments, upgraded technology, and better rooms and furniture so they can continue to spark the love for music and its many intellectual benefits in others.

Music has been shown to promote brain activity, increase focus, help with understanding and analyzing visual information, and even builds self-confidence—all traits necessary to succeed in both academics and life.

"It [music] influences our emotions, makes us think in different ways, and teaches us how to work together," says Wood. "I would hate to see something so all-encompassing and vital be taken away from these students."

  • Jazz Ensemble music purchases

  • Instrument/sound equipment upgrades

  • FA 24 room audio equipment upgrades

  • Additional professional jazz clinician sessions throughout the semester

  • Financing travel to performance sites off campus and or Jazz Festivals/Competitions across the country

  • Upgrades in computer technology used for teaching in FA 24

  • Some room equipment upgrades to bring the studio physical space up to modern standards including music chairs, music stands, acoustical upgrades, and carpet replacement

  • Enhancing/upgrading the FA24 Studio room space to bring it up to modern standards

Stories and Reviews

"... I was a pianist in the Harpur Jazz Ensemble from 9/1998 – 5/2001, and served as Co-President of the Harpur Jazz Project from 9/2000 – 5/2001.These experiences have proven to be two of the most rewarding and meaningful ones in my life, both musically and personally...

... I am currently an instrumental music teacher in public elementary school in New York. In addition, I still perform regularly in my local community, often with former students who are now pursuing careers in music. My experiences in the HJE and HJP are the sole reason that I have chosen to dedicate my life to music education and music performance. These platforms have given me an opportunity to serve others, and inspire hundreds of students and audiences over the years..."

Greg Gordon
Instrumental Music
Baldwin Union Free School District
Baldwin, NY