Personal Info: My name is Allen Cole. I'm 48 years old, single, and live in Richmond's 'Fan District' only one block alway from our world-famous Monument Avenue. I work as a musician, primarily in Spectrum, and am also very active as a private music teacher on clarinet, saxophone and flute. Over the years, I've worked various jobs around my music career. I've been a waiter, security guard, ambulance driver, and office worker. The 1990's included lengthy stints in the finance business at Capital One, and at Saxon Mortgage. I currently do music full time, following my return from the US & European tour of Blackbirds of Broadway.
Hobbies/Interests: As a musician, much of my profession creeps into my personal life. I'm a big jazz fan, and like to spend off time watching my small but potent collection of jazz video. I also devote a lot of time to my teaching curriculum and especially to the Jam School activities on this website. Other musical interests include transcribing jazz solos, and arrangements for 4-5 horn bands. For the last couple of years, I've been practicing jazz guitar from an accompaniment point of view. Favorite artists to emulate are Freddie Green, Eldon Shamblin, Ray Benson and Homer Haynes.
I've had a longtime interest in radio and hold a technician-class ham license. (callsign N4JRI) I also love to play with scanners. I enjoy listening in on the trains, seagoing ships, and F-16s of the 192nd Fighter Wing here in Richmond. My latest project has been Virginia's new STARS system, on which I'm preparing an article for Monitoring Times.
A relatively new interest for me is that of my family's genealogy. If your family has a Cole from Hanover or Caroline, an Allen from Amelia, a Crump from New Kent or a Cramer from Halifax, I'd love to swap info with you.
Reading is a favorite pastime also. I'm a voracious reader of non-fiction with music, aviation and history as my favorite subjects. Some of my favorite historical subjects include the Wilderness Road, the Kilpatrick/Dahlgren raid on Richmond, the Lincoln County War, Munich's Beer Hall Putsch of 1923, World War II, the reestablishment of Israel, and the truly amazing flight of Apollo 13. I'm currently looking for a good book to teach me more about Europe from the French Revolution to World War I. Any suggestions?
More recently, my involvement in a Western/Cowboy band has made me a rabid viewer of old westerns with Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and the plethora of musicians who provide much of those movies' casts.
Playing: I primarily play saxophones, clarinet and flute in jazz & pop settings, and in theatre pit orchestras. Areas of special skill include Dixieland Clarinet, 'legit' clarinet, Soul/R&B horn sections, and German Band repertoire. Current employment is with Spectrum, which I helped to found with former members of Jack Diamond & Friends in 1985. From 1979 to 1982. I worked in a number of groups under pianist/vocalist Ginni Carr, and in pit orchestras for the Haymarket Dinner Theatre and the Swift Creek Mill Playhouse. Outside of duties with Spectrum, I also play regularly with the Continentals Big Band, Jack Diamond & Friends, a couple of German bands, and recently joined a Gypsy/Klezmer band that I'm pretty excited about.
Arranging/Copying: I have extensive experience arranging for bands with four rhythm and four horns in a number of different styles, and am particularly adept in adapting big band charts to work well with the reduced instrumentation. While I generally stick with my own playing situations, I have done arrangements for use by Archie Bell, the Miss Wheelchair America Pageant, and some school groups. Most of my current arrangements are written using the Sibelius software package.
Teaching: I currently teach clarinet, saxophone and flute in the evenings at Mechanicsville Music and at the Music and Art Center on Midlothian Turnpike.
Other Musical Activities: Outside of professional obligations, I also play clarinet every Tuesday in the Richmond Pops Band and on occasion with the Commonwealth Winds. I've also subbed a bit with the Richmond Philharmonic Orchestra over the last few years. Beginning in July 2007, I'm serving as Interim Minister of Music at Bethlehem Baptist Church where my sister is the church pianist, and where our parents met and married almost 60 years ago. I'm having a terrific time working with the choir and developing a contemporary praise team. We also hope to have a web presence soon.
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