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Jazz Professor and Former Hill Music Director Tony Branker Leads Workshop for Hill Musicians

On Thursday, March 28, Tony Branker, former director of Hill's instrumental program, returned to campus to work with Hill musicians in the Jazz Ensemble and the jazz improvisation group, The Titans. Branker listened in for a few hours, giving tips and suggestions. He spoke specifically to the Jazz Ensemble about keeping the audience engaged. “The listener wants to be involved,” Branker said. “They’re supporting you. Help them understand the story that you’re telling them.” Advice and critique like this showed students how to be better performers, focusing on more than just technique.

Branker currently works as part of the Rutgers University Arts Department as a lecturer for Jazz Trumpet. Tony Branker served as Hill’s Director of Instrumental Music for many years prior to current director, Margie Neiswender, taking over the program in 1986. Neiswender was thrilled to host him on campus again, referring to Branker as “an amazing teacher, musician, and composer.” Overall, the students were grateful to gain insight from such a seasoned professional like Branker.