This summer, HWS students performed at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival as part of the HWS Jazz Guitar Ensemble, led by Applied Instructor of Guitar Studies Greg Wachala. The students included guitarists Michael Bruno ’19, Owen Speth ’21 and Bradley Stewart ’19, percussionists Nick LaDuca ’19 and Orson Sproule ’21, and bass guitarist Jasper White ’20.
The HWS musicians presented pieces by Irving Berlin, Roy Hargrove, Wes Montgomery and Antonio Carlos Jobim on June 30 on the outdoor stage on Gibbs Street in Rochester.
The group was recommended to perform at the festival by Bob Sneider, an assistant professor of jazz guitar at the Eastman School of Music, who has participated in the HWS Jazz ‘n’ Guitar Series. Sneider has toured with two-time Grammy Award winner Chuck Mangione and has performed in major festivals, concert halls and jazz clubs throughout South America, Central America, North America and Europe.
The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival is one of the largest jazz festivals in the world. The festival featured 1,500 artists from all around the world. Main headliners for the festival included Lake Street Dive, Jill Scott, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Alison Krauss, and Boz Scaggs.
Wachala is a respected guitarist, composer, producer and educator, who plays regularly in the upstate New York area. Having gained a reputation as a passionate and innovative musician, Wachala has created an individual style on the guitar that crosses over many musical genres while staying true to the traditional styling of jazz.