New visiting professor looks to expand music program

[media-credit name=”Roberts” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Shannon Roberts is a new visiting professor for the Weber State University Music Department and the newest addition to the jazz and band programs on campus. Donald Keipp, the former director of both the marching and jazz band, retired last year after a long and successful career at WSU.

Roberts holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree in music composition from the University of Utah; a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the United States International University in San Diego, Calif., and an Associate of Arts degree in applied arts from San Diego Mesa College. He is also a graduate of the United States Navy School of Music in Little Creek, Va.

Roberts has been a regular performer with the Salt Lake City Jazz Orchestra and the Great Basin St. Band and the musical director for the Spare Parts Big Band. He also performs with his own jazz trio, quintet and eight-piece band. As a brass specialist on trumpet, trombone and tuba, he has played with national artists like Eddie Daniels, Frank Sinatra Jr., Dee Daniels, Spanky Wilson, Jeff Hamilton, Maureen McGovern and the Manhattan Transfer.

“I have an opportunity to really build this program, and I’d like to stay; it’s great to be here with this faculty and new vision for WSU,” Roberts said. “What brought me here was the great opportunity to be a visiting professor for one year. I think that professors are going to want to be here because of the level of excellence, both now and as it grows. People will want to be a part of that.”

Other music professors said they are excited to work with Roberts.

“Dr. Shannon Roberts is a dynamic and creative music teacher and conductor,” said Thomas Root, WSU music professor and director of bands. “I look forward to sharing ideas with him — he was a great choice for marching/jazz, and I know he will make a huge difference in our department’s future.”

Thomas Priest, the chair of the WSU Performing Arts Department, said students are also enthusiastic about innovations in the music programs.

“Dr. Roberts has certainly contributed to a new source of energy in our department,” he said. “I can tell the students are very excited about what is happening in the marching band, jazz band and music theory classes.”

Roberts said he looks to expand the size and prestige of the program.

“I want to build the marching band to over 150,” Roberts said. “I want our jazz band experimenting with more contemporary music. I want to do annual recordings with the groups. I would also like to be a part of the theory faculty and see if I can contribute to a composition degree.”

Roberts said he is eager to accomplish much in this year and hopes to stay on as a WSU professor next year.

“We in the band and jazz programs are working to be as good as we can possibly be,” Roberts said. “The goal is excellence — not necessarily perfection, but to play to win, and not just to not lose, and continue to build on the excellence here.”