Charles L. Booker Jr., associate professor of theory and composition at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith, is saying “farewell” to UAFS with a final musical program at 7:30 p.m. March 10 in Breedlove Auditorium that brings together a number of musicians, preceded earlier in the day with a master class conducted by his son.
The event will feature chamber music composed by Booker and performed by a dozen of his Fort Smith musical peers, including UAFS faculty members Virginia Hudson (flute), Dr. David Carter (clarinet, alto sax), Louann Dooly (bassoon), Gini Law (piano), Dr. Alexandra Zacharella (trombone), Dr. Matthew Vangjel (trumpet, flugelhorn), Alice Brooks Sanders (piano), Joshua J. Knight (percussion), Don Bailey (flute, alto sax) and Terri Bailey (piano).
Guest performers include Chris Cameron of Fort Smith on guitar, Dr. Jackie Lamar (alto sax) and Dr. John Krebs (piano) from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, and Dr. Kevin Sanders (tuba) from the University of Memphis (Tenn.).
Booker’s special guest performer on the evening program is his son, Dr. Adam Booker, on double-bass. Adam is assistant professor of music at the University of Minnesota at Duluth and has played the bass professionally since age 16.
Adam will present a free master class that day which is open to anyone interested in attending. The class will be held at 3 p.m. in room 105 of the Breedlove Building on campus, and will cover the double-bass, electric bass, jazz music and careers in music.
“I am so happy that Adam was able to make room on his schedule to come to Fort Smith for this program and master class,” Chuck Booker said. “It means a lot to have him perform alongside me on this important event in my life.”
Booker composed one piece specifically for this occasion. “Crashin’ the Party” (“Sonata for Double Bass and Combo 2014”) will feature Adam, along with Cameron, Carter, Vangjel, Zacharella, Knight, Don Bailey and Terri Bailey.
Booker has spent most of four decades in music education and performance, including 16 years at UAFS, where he currently teaches conducting, music theory, orchestration and composition. Earlier positions at UAFS include Director of Bands, Director of Jazz Studies and chair of the Department of Music.
He is a former U.S. Army Bandmaster, serving 21 years in the Army as a trumpeter and conductor. This included service in the U.S. Fifth Army Band in San Antonio; staff arranger for The U.S. Army Field Band; conductor of Army bands in Louisiana, Germany and New York City; and director of the Jazz Ambassadors in Washington, D.C.
Booker’s 45-plus compositions and arrangements have been published by Alfred Music, Kendor Music, Southern Music Company, Wingert-Jones, Print Music Source and Booker Music. His music has been performed internationally by schools, universities and professional bands that include The United States Army Band (“Pershing’s Own”), The United States Army Field Band, the U.S. Military Academy Band (West Point), the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America and the U.S. Air Force Academy Band.
He has released five CDs to date: “Centra-fuge: The Music of Charles L. Booker Jr., Volume I”; “American Jubilee: The Music of Charles L. Booker Jr., Volume II”; “Times Remembered: The Music of Charles L. Booker Jr., Volume III”; “Radiant Blues: The Music of Charles L. Booker Jr., Volume IV”; and “Glorious Journey,” released in February 2014.