The Columbia Big Band (CBB) is a new ensemble formed in October 2015. Our repertoire covers genres such as traditional Big Band, Bebop, Fusion, Swing and Latin, among others. We are members of the community who enjoy performing for all audiences. Though some members play and teach music professionally, the members are volunteers employed in a wide variety of professions who share a love of music. CBB is one of several bands within the Columbia Bands non-profit organization. The Columbia Big Band hopes to bring the enjoyment of big band music to a wide audience. We look forward to seeing you at our concerts!
Robert Miller directed the bands at Hammond Middle School for 30 years and at Howard High School for the previous four years before retiring. He has been a private percussion instructor for over 40 years, and he taught applied percussion at Howard Community College from 1984-1999. He has directed summer band programs for many years. From 1989-2000, Robert directed the Columbia Concert Band and Columbia Jazz Ensemble community bands. He has been an adjudicator at band festivals, solo and ensemble festivals, and All-State Band auditions. He has also been a clinician for music educator conferences and a guest conductor. Robert has a B.S. in Music Education, a B.S. in Psychology, and an M.Ed. in Music Education from the University of Maryland, College Park. He also maintains a private lesson percussion studio. He is married to Judi, and has two children, Arielle and Matthew.
Tom started playing trumpet at the age of 7. In high school, he was in the concert, marching and jazz band as well as pit orchestra. He was honored with the John Philip Sousa award his senior year. Wednesday evenings, he played in the Olney Community Band. He also attended the summer jazz workshops and played in Montgomery College's Summer Dinner Theater. While attending the University of Maryland, he played in the Mighty Sound of Maryland and the Maryland Pep Band under the direction of Mr. John Wakefield and Dr. Rich Sparks. He also split the lead trumpet part in UMD's premier Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Mr. Chris Vadala. Tom studied trumpet under Jerry Drake and Rick Ensminger. Tom is currently working on a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at UMBC.
Eric Bassett began his musical journey when he was 10 years old under the direction of Michael Blackman, now conductor of the Columbia Concert Band. Starting on the clarinet and quickly moving to tenor saxophone, he worked his way through the schools of Western Howard County, eventually ending up in the Glenelg Bands where he continued to play tenor saxophone in the concert, marching, and jazz bands under the direction of Barry Enzman. As a member of the GHS Jazz Ensemble, he was afforded two tours through Europe with the band playing at incredible venues such as the prestigious North Sea and Montreux Jazz Festivals as well as the Jazzhaus in Freiburg, Germany. The GHS Jazz ensemble was also fortunate enough to share the stage with such greats as the Count Basie Orchestra, Maynard Ferguson, Chris Vadala, Rick Lillard, Deanna Bogart, Vaughn Nark, and many more notable jazz musicians. Eric later went on to study music at Towson University, playing with the concert band as well as various sax quartets. He also played in the jazz ensemble, then under the direction of Ron Diehl, for two years before changing majors to Computer Science. Eric currently works as a systems engineer for a Columbia based company, and enjoys playing with the Columbia Concert band as well as the Category 5 Wind Ensemble in addition to the Columbia Big Band.