A Georgia Baptist Institution
Band Director Receives International Jazz Award
Shorter College Band Director Tom Smith will receive the International Jazz Ambassador award on Saturday, Jan. 12, during the 35th annual International Association of Jazz Education (IAJE) conference. Founded in 1968 as the National Association of Jazz Educators, IAJE promotes the continued worldwide growth and development of jazz and jazz education; the association currently has more than 8,000 members from 42 countries. Only six awards are presented to outstanding jazz leaders each year.
The International Jazz Ambassador award honors an IAJE member who has made a significant impact by developing an IAJE presence in a new and/or underdeveloped country, region or unit. Smith has done all three by beginning more than 30 nonprofit regional jazz ensembles in rural North Carolina, developing a jazz school in Romania and leading a jazz program in African townships.
“I am grateful to be honored with this award because it brings legitimacy to this type of jazz advocacy work,” said Smith. “It recognizes a lifetime of my work, which has mainly been behind the scenes. Hopefully the increased credibility from this award will open additional opportunities for funding other start-from-scratch jazz groups.”
A five-time Senior Fulbright Professor of Music at the Romanian National University of Music in Bucharest and the Tibiscus University in Timisoara, Smith has also served as a Fulbright Professional Specialist at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa. He holds degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
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