Dr. Jordan Vanhemert - Director of Jazz Studies; Director, Schwob Jazz Orchestra
Dr. Jordan Vanhemert is a Korean American saxophonist and composer lauded for his
skill as a modern jazz improviser, composer, and educator.
Critics recognize VanHemert’s music as being profoundly relevant; noted jazz journalist
and historian Scott Yanow recently praised VanHemert’s debut release I AM NOT A VIRUS
as “quite impressive,” stating that his piece “Autumn Song” “could eventually become
a standard.” Additionally, critics recognize VanHemert’s album as “full of generous
emotions.” (Sonograma Barcelona) and the “beautiful harmonious, melodious base” of his compositions, calling them
“Sophisticated but quite accessible for many.” (JazzMania Belgium)
VanHemert has performed or recorded with many notable artists, including Rodney Whitaker, John Webber, AJ Rafael, Heather Cornell, Rob Smith, Dmitri Matheny, Chris Vadala, Geri Allen, and many others.
Dr. VanHemert currently serves as Director of Jazz Studies at the Schwob School of Music where he directs the Schwob Jazz Orchestra, oversees Jazz Combos, and teaches Jazz Studies Courses. Prior to his appointment at Columbus State University, Dr. VanHemert served on the faculty of Hope College and as the founder and inaugural Music Director of the Holland Concert Jazz Orchestra, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to jazz advocacy, education, and performance.
In addition to his work as a composer and saxophonist, Dr. VanHemert continues to garner recognition for his work as a champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion in music. He is a DEI consultant with music organizations around the country to promote inclusion, including Hope College, PARMA Recordings, Vandoren USA, Conn Selmer, and the West Michigan Jazz Society. In recognition of his work, he was awarded the GROW Diversity and Inclusion Award at Hope College, where he served as a faculty advisor to the college’s Asian Student Union.
He holds degrees from Central Michigan University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. VanHemert is a Vandoren Artist-Clinician and Selmer Paris Saxophones Performing Artist. He performs exclusively on Vandoren reeds and mouthpieces and Selmer Paris saxophones.
Dr. Paul Vaillancourt - Jazz Drum Set/Vibes
Paul Vaillancourt, Associate Professor of Percussion at Columbus State University, has been a featured soloist with the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic, the National Arts Center Orchestra, the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, and at the Banff and Aspen Music Festivals. Recent concerto performances have included Michael Daugherty's Raise The Roof with the CSU Wind Ensemble and Jennifer Higdon'sPercussion Concerto with the CSU Philharmonic. He has had various performances broadcast by NPR, CBC and Radio-Canada and is in demand as an instructor and composer of Scottish pipe band drumming. He is a founding member of several innovative contemporary music ensembles including The Furious Band, STRIKE, with pianist Jeff Meyer and the Fountain City Ensemble, with whom he has premiered works by Alexandr Radvilovich, Brian Cherney, J. M. David, Chen Yi, Daniel Koontz, Perry Goldstein, Daniel Weymouth, Matthew Welch, Brooke Joyce, John Fitz Rogers, and many others, in the U.S., Canada, Japan, China and Russia.
As a conductor, Vaillancourt has given the U.S. and world premieres of chamber works by Brian Cherney, David Lang, Steven Gellman, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Eric Moe, John Parcell, Sidney Hodkinson, Jack Beeson, R. Murray Schaeffer, Jefferson Freidman, Nico Muhly as well as the opera Comala, by Eastman School of Music faculty Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Vaillancourt contributed to the recently released commercial recording of the opera (Bridge Records) as a performer, which earned the composer a nomination as a Pulitzer Prize finalist.
While completing his D.M.A. at the State University of New York in Stony Brook studying with legendary pedagogue Raymond DesRoches, he performed with Pulse, the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble and the Orchestra of the S.E.M Ensemble.
Ben Weatherford - Jazz Guitar
Richmond, Virginia native Ben Weatherford started playing guitar at fourteen and began playing professionally at seventeen. He continued his musical education with honors at Berklee College of Music after high school, performing with future Grammy winners John Mayer, Clay Cook and Nnenna Freelon.
Since moving to Georgia in 2003, Ben has been an active member of the Atlanta music and education community. For over 12 years he has taught private lessons, small ensembles, improvisation, composition, and arranging. Ben received a Master's degree in Jazz Studies from Georgia State University in 2011, where he was also a graduate assistant.
In 2012 he was hired as faculty in the music departments of Jacksonville State University in Alabama, Atlanta Institute of Music, and Columbus State University in Georgia. In addition to actively teaching and performing in the Atlanta area, he has experience in multiple music genres as well as receiving film scoring credit in the feature film Good Intentions and theater experience with the Atlanta Lyric Theater, The Wesleyan School, and Georgia Perimeter College.
Dr. Patricia Weitzel - Jazz Bass
Dr. Patricia Weitzel is the Lecturer of Double Bass at Columbus State University. She has appeared as soloist, chamber musician, orchestral performer, teacher and clinician in several countries including Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, England, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, the Netherlands and the United States. Before coming to CSU she held faculty positions at Augustana College, Central College, Grinnell College, St. Ambrose University, and Drake University. She is also a member of the Des Moines and Quad City Symphonies and maintains an active remote private studio with students across the globe.
Dr. Weitzel has collaborated and worked with renowned artists such as the Daedalus Quartet, pianist Soyeon Kate Lee, and bassist Volkan Orhon. 2020-21 engagements include teaching at the Sphinx Performance Academy at the Julliard School, participation in the Chineke! Orchestra European tour and performance at the 62nd Grammy Awards Ceremony with Lizzo.
In addition to being a performing artist and educator, Dr. Weitzel continually receives recognition for her leadership and advocacy of diversity, excellency, and inclusion in the Arts. As a member of the 2019 Global Leaders Program Cohort and one of the recipients of the Sphinx Organization’s Mpower Artist Grant, she was involved in the development of initiatives that offer opportunities of music education to underserved youth.
Dr. Patricia Weitzel is the Membership Chair of the International Society of Bassists, an organization with approximately 3000 members in over 40 countries whose mission is to encourage excellence in bass performance, pedagogy, research, composition, and lutherie.
Bryan Canonigo - Jazz Graduate Assistant
Bryan Canonigo is the Graduate Assistant in Jazz Studies at the Columbus State University Schwob School of Music. At this post, Canonigo directs the Cannonball Jazz Quintet, assists with the direction and management of the Schwob Jazz Orchestra, and tutors students in jazz improvisation, jazz saxophone, and woodwind doubling. Bryan holds a Bachelors Degree in jazz studies from Humber College in Toronto, Canada where he performed with Michael Brecker, Dave Holland, Dave Douglas, and Randy Brecker as part of the Humber Studio Jazz Ensemble. He was also a member of the Toronto All-Star Big Band where he was a featured clarinet soloist and shared the stage with Clark Terry, Buddy Defranco, Peter Appleyard, and Eddie Daniels.
For ten years, Canonigo served as a Musical Director and professional musician with Carnival Cruise Lines where he performed, directed, and managed numerous ensembles across many genres. Bands under his direction opened for popular acts such as John Mayer, the New Kids On the Block, Lyle Lovett, Bernard Purdie, The Barenaked Ladies, and Patti LaBelle. Bryan is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in saxophone performance with Dr. Joseph Girard and is very active in the Columbus musical community.