Ambition, student jazz performance group, tests lively new sound at CBU

Ambition, the student-led jazz performance group, made its debut this past January as a pilot program to test the likelihood of future investment with the Shelby and Ferne Collinsworth School of Music. They originally formed as a group to promote jazz education and culture at California Baptist University.

Two saxophones, a trombone, a guitar, bass and drums make up the group. Ambition specializes in all styles of jazz from bebop to Latin. They also cross into R&B and pop covers depending on the audience.

The inspiration for the band’s name comes from Romans 15:20, that states, “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.”

Recently, the group made its mark by headlining at the Poetry Slam Jan. 26 as the main entertainment group. Melody Leon, junior music education major, assistant bandleader and saxophone player, said the crowd was extremely responsive to the performance.

Mitchell Collard, junior music performance major and drummer for the band, said he was anticipating a bright future for the band.

“The main point of this group is to bring awareness and attention to jazz education for the School of Music,” Collard said.

With limited opportunities for jazz education at CBU, Mitchell said he hopes the success of Ambition will spark the demand for jazz programs in the future.

Although working as an independent performance group, Ambition has maintained a working relationship with CBU as a pilot program.

Leon said the group is thankful for the support from Dr. Joseph Bolin, dean of the School of Music.

“Dr. Bolin is an inspiration for all of us because he has been very supportive of what we are all trying to accomplish and we are all very grateful,” Leon said.

Bolin expressed his admiration for Ambition’s determination and work ethic.

“I am so proud of the vision, initiative and leadership the students of the newly formed Ambition have demonstrated,” Bolin said. “They are a testament to the power of hard work, applied learning and a consistent striving for excellence.”

Collard said he has great expectations for the band.

“I hope that this is a group that will continue to thrive and act as a professional group that has a working relationship with CBU,” Collard said.

The band said it plans to gain more exposure.

“As of right now, our goal by the end of this semester is to get our name out there and hopefully make a lasting, positive impact on those that hear us,” Leon said.

“Our hope is for the School of Music to recognize that building a jazz program and promoting jazz education is worth investing in.”

Ambition is expected to perform at the Dean’s Conference held at the Riverside Convention Center March 8, where many politicians, administrators and music teachers will be in attendance.

Leave a Reply