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Eric Byrd


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Lessons from Local Leaders:

Eric Byrd

Ever wondered what it’s like to navigate a lifelong journey through the world of jazz music? Sit back and listen as Eric Byrd, the creative mind behind the Sunday Jazz Workshops and Summer Jazz Camp, shares his inspiring story. Influenced by his father’s love for jazz, Eric’s passion was ignited through vinyl records and a transformative college encounter with Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue.” Despite initial skepticism from his parents, Eric pursued his calling, earning advanced degrees and honing his skills in church music and beyond. 

Eric’s extensive performance experiences in the Virginia, DC, and Maryland areas, as well as his time with the Jazz Ambassadorship program, highlight the highs and lows of a jazz career. One of his most vivid memories includes touring South America during the 9/11 attacks, culminating in emotionally charged renditions of “God Bless America” with South American audiences. Eric also delves into the significance of teaching and mentorship, sharing insights from his roles at Gettysburg College and Shenandoah University, and the fulfillment of nurturing young, talented musicians.

As we wrap up our conversation, we discuss the importance of building a sustainable career in jazz, underscoring the need for community support and access to quality resources. Eric’s journey is a powerful reminder of the resilience required to pursue one’s passion and the invaluable support of a dedicated community. Whether you’re an aspiring musician or a jazz aficionado, Eric’s experiences provide inspiration and practical wisdom on the intricate dance between passion, perseverance, and the pursuit of excellence in the world of jazz.

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