Summer Jazz Factory Staff
Thomas J. West
Thomas J. West is an active music teacher, composer, adjudicator, and clinician in the greater Philadelphia area. He has over twenty years experience as a concert band director, marching band director, jazz band and jazz improvisation instructor, choral director, orchestra director, private instructor, and freelance composer and arranger. He is currently the instrumental music teacher and online fine arts learning coordinator at the Center for Performing and Fine Arts, a unique school which is part of the innovative Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School. Thomas has a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from The Pennsylvania State University. He holds a teaching certificate in the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey and has taught at the secondary level in both states. He is a music judge for Drum Corps International and a marching band and jazz band judge for Cavalcade of Bands. He is a member of NAfME, PMEA, the Jazz Education Network, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.
Summer Jazz Factory employs several local professional musicians for a single coaching session with both our middle school and high school students. These guest clinicans represent some of the most accomplished jazz performers and educators in the Greater Philadelphia area. A note to parents: all clinicians, as well as our regular staff, have submitted copies of their PA criminal record background check and child abuse clearances.
Mr. Townsend first picked up a guitar from his Grandmother’s attic along with a beginner book on how to play the guitar when he was 16 years old. At 19 he began to take lessons from world renowned guitarist John Dougherty. Through John’s influence, Mr. Townsend entered Berklee College of Music where he received his Bachelors of Music in Jazz Composition and Arranging. He then attended the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami in Florida where he received a Masters of Music in Media Writing and Production. After receiving his masters, Mr. Townsend formed a company called Town Sounds Music and Audio Productions, which focused on writing music for the commercial market, including film score, video game soundtracks, jingles, and songwriting. Townsounds created music and audio for various corporations including Microsoft, McDonalds, IBM, Tonka, and Electronic Arts. Mr. Townsend has been teaching guitar for over 20 years locally and in Florida and performs all over the greater Philadelphia area.
Sean J. Kennedy is a multi-faceted musician, equally accomplished on the stage, in the recording studio, and in the classroom. He has performed on drumset and percussion with Il Volo, The Philly POPS! Orchestra, The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, The Jacksonville Symphony, The Strauss Symphony of America, The Allentown Band, The Allentown Symphony Orchestra, The Lancaster Symphony Orchestra and is principal drumset player with the Philadelphia Boys Choir & Chorale and The Sinatra Centennial Orchestra. Kennedy is also the author of numerous drumset, percussion and improv books. Jazz legend Dave Brubeck stated that Sean’s drumming, “… sounds like it should—it swings!”
Whether performing a classical solo at a rock and roll show or playing a screaming jazz solo at a chamber music concert, trumpeter Bob Wagner's performances offer "excitement, power and expression". (Atlantic City Weekly)
His unique talents have propelled Bob to performances in the nation's major concert halls; Including NYC's iconic Carnegie Hall, where Bob's triumphant piccolo trumpet solo on Penny Lane was rewarded by the capacity crowd with a standing ovation. With his latest project, a recording of Claude Bolling's Toot Suite, Wagner's solo voice has attracted attention. Retired Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Trumpet Frank Kaderabek described Wagner's performance as "some of the finest trumpet playing I've heard in years". And, Nick Mondello of AllAboutJazz.com, called Toot Suite a "superb performance" with "fervor, energy and artistry".
Bob lives in the Philadelphia area where he leads a popular 18-piece big band, his own jazz group, and a chamber brass ensemble. He also maintains a busy freelance performance schedule around town and presents talks, clinics, and master-classes to student and professional groups. Bob is an endorsing artist for Wedge Mouthpieces, and a voting member for the Grammys.