Jazz Orchestra says goodbye to director


Members of the Southern Jazz Orchestra play their final concert with seven-year orchestra director Jeffrey Macomber, professor of music, during the SJO Swingin’ Holiday Show held in Corley Auditorium Dec. 3.

A faint wave of audible disappointment filled the room as Jeffrey Macomber, music department chair, announced his departure from the Southern Jazz Orchestra just prior to the conclusion of the SJO Swingin’ Holiday Show held Dec. 3, in the Corley Auditorium.

“We’re just turning over a different chapter in the history of this ensemble,” said Macomber. “It’s had many different directors over the years, and this is just another opportunity for the group to go in a perhaps slightly different direction.”

For many of the orchestra members, word of Macomber’s departure came as a shock, having not been previously informed of his plans.

“I’m honestly surprised,” said Chris Hancock, junior music major and member of the Southern Jazz Orchestra, after learning of Macomber’s decision. “This band is his baby.”

Macomber, who has served as the director of the Jazz Orchestra for seven years, states that his decision to step away is actually in the best interest of the group.

“Sometimes it’s just good for these programs for there to be changes—sometimes the changes work like a refresh button, they kind of give things a different perspective.

Replacing Macomber will be Phillip Wise, director of jazz studies, who  served as the director of the Jazz Orchestra before Macomber took the reins in 2006.

“It’s a very schooled, trained and experienced perspective that he brings, so it will be very high quality,” said Macomber. “I expect the Jazz Orchestra to continue to improve and reach even greater heights than it has reached before.”

Wise currently serves as the director of the Southern Jazz Combos, which consists of fewer members than the orchestra, and will continue to work with them despite his new position.

“Dr. Wise is a really good jazz instructor,” said Hancock. “He is also a really good jazz trombonist, as well.”

Before saying good bye, Macomber filled his last concert as director of the Jazz Orchestra with a variety of jokes that brought bouts of laughter from the audience and received praise from some of the concert-goers after the show.