Anthony Stanco, lecturer in jazz studies in the School of Music, leads The Crucial Elements, a nationally recognized five-piece ensemble that has toured the U.S. State Department’s American Music Abroad program. People such as Dave Brubeck and Louis Armstrong have taken part in this program, when it was called Jazz Ambassadors, which has been around since 1961. This summer Stanco spent time in Kyrgyzstan for his sixth U.S. State Department tour.
What has your experience been like with the U.S. State Department’s American Music Abroad program?
It has been a positive one. I’ve been doing tours with my band, The Crucial Elements, since 2013 and we’ve been to a variety of countries including Kyrgyzstan, South Africa and Indonesia. I value the personal stories and the new learned culture I come back with after each trip.
This program is all about promoting cultural exchange.”
We are really trying to spread love and positivity through music across the world while being ambassadors for America. I wrote two songs titled “Unity” and “Freedom” and we perform these songs at every show as the closer.
What kind of venues did you perform at while in Kyrgyzstan?
It’s such a wide range. We have performed in concert halls, orphanages, schools, communities and large music festivals with thousands of people. We were asked to be the headliner at the Bishkek Spring Jazz Festival this past April. American Music Abroad tries to reach beyond concert halls to interact with musicians and citizens from around the world.
How did you get involved in this program?
I got involved through word-of-mouth because a friend told me about the program. I applied, and my band and I were accepted two years in a row.
As of now we don’t have any tours lined up. It seems like we are in good favor with the State Department and we are hoping to do more tours in the future.
I plan to continue teaching because I feel it is my duty to the music to pass knowledge along. I was lucky enough to have music mentors growing up so I believe I should mentor aspiring musicians as well.
In jazz we say, ‘each one, teach one.’’
See how #Jazz has taken one @OhioStateMusic lecturer to #Kyrgyzstan in the latest #ASCSpotlight #ASCDaily