TAHLEQUAH – Despite showing up soaking wet for the audition, Jason Ashmore made history recently as the fifth student from Northeastern State University to be accepted into the National Intercollegiate Band.
After practicing countless hours in preparation for the audition, Ashmore, who graduated from NSU on May 16, didn’t anticipate the weather on his audition day. While making his way across the campus of Louisana State University, rain poured down and soaked the musician, along with his music and trumpet, on his way to the music hall during the Kappa Kappa Psi Southwest District Convention.
“I was using my trumpet to shield the music from getting wet and writing out music to use from during the audition,” said Ashmore, of Tulsa. “The fact that I even made the NIB blows my mind.”
The NIB is an honor musical organization that selects the top players from the country to perform at the Kappa Kappa Psi National Convention July 19-21 in Phoenix, Ariz.
Ashmore received the news that he had been accepted Wednesday, May 13 during NSU finals week.
“For a last week of college, that was a welcome blessing. Something really neat happens every year for Kappa Kappa Psi,” said Ashmore.
Each year the NIB plays a new piece of music and this year is under the direction of Col. John Bourgeois, the director of President’s United States Marine Band.
“This is a nationally selected ensemble so it’s very prestigious for him to be selected,” said Dr. Jason Dovel, assistant professor of music. “It really shows that he is at the top of his trade and is among the best in the country. So I am very excited for him and very happy for him to have made it this far.”
For over half his life, Ashmore has been perfecting his trumpet-playing skills. When he first pressed his lips to a trumpet at age 11, he managed to play a note on his first try. By the end of that day, he was playing half scales of music.
“I started in band because I did not want to take gym. If you took gym then you had to play basketball or football and I wasn’t much of a sports guy, unless it was on Nintendo,” said Ashmore. “All of my friends were in band. I guess you could say it was peer pressure. All my friends were doing it, all the cool kids were doing it, so I wanted to be in band.”
Jason started playing the trumpet in sixth grade, but always seemed to end up towards the end of the section. He decided to play solos and lead parts in seventh and eighth grade, but his director did not offer much encouragement.
“Some people will take that and say, ‘ok, I’ll stay on third,’” said Ashmore. “I’m not the type of person to do that. I like to challenge what people say I cannot do.”
In eighth grade, Jason made the All District Metro Honor Band. First or second chair players were selected for this competition, but he was not one of those students. After practicing the piece of music for a week, he made third chair.
“Everyone else had the music for months and still did not make this,” said Ashmore. “It kind of hinted to me that I might be able to do something with my music.”
During his time at NSU, Jason was fortunate enough to play lead trumpet on three of the last four albums produced by the NSU Jazz Ensemble. He was also the president of KKY.
“I feel very fortunate that in my two years in this fraternity, I have gotten to do so many neat things and I will never forget how lucky I was,” said Ashmore. “Some of these things shouldn’t have happened but they did.”
As president, he inducted two honorary members into the band fraternity, Randy Brecker, a founding member of Blood, Sweat and Tears, and Vince DeMartino, one of the top trumpeters in the world. He took on a role in the Northeastern Student Government Association Senate while juggling the KKY presidency.
“I’ve been afforded some wonderful opportunities from this program and to be considered one of the players here and one of the lead guys for so long has been an honor,” said Ashmore.