Jazz@Rensselaer celebrates its first wedding.

On July 3, 2014, two former members of the J@R family were wed in Tuscon, AZ. Michael Fishburn, lead alto, class of 2010, and Lauren Lomanto, piano, class of 2011, met in late August  2007 at Lauren’s jazz ensemble audition. Director, Bob Button remembers it this way:

“…. it was later in the evening on a Monday night, we had heard several players and were able to find most of them positions in the band, then in walks a spunky young woman from Texas to audition for the piano seat. Mike Fishburn, the newly appointed manager for the band, myself, and a few of the key members, heard her play and the decision was made, Lauren was our pianist."

Soon after I noticed that she and Mike were becoming friendlier and sometime within the next month or so, I was noticing that they were working together in our music library. I have reason to believe that their attention to detail, above average organizational abilities and love for the Art Form brought them together. Then, a few years went on, graduations, great jobs and, as they say, the rest is history. I take FULL responsibility for bringing these two together. Mike and Lauren recently wrote us a beautiful thank you note that ended with “…without you none of this would have ever happened”.

Much Love and Happiness from your J@R family.


Call and Response

"I remember fondly a great series of concerts at the McNeil room, with a wonderful variety of music- swing, bop, pop, avante garde...everything!  Bob Button gave me great liberty infusing everything from Jimi Hendrix to sounds of whale calls on my upright bass solos. I have continued on to play professionally including with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, all in tandem with a career in physics and engineering. I take with me from Jazz@Rensselaer, friendships and the special bond and intimacy that music provides, that transcends disciplines and our sometimes rigid academic and technical relationships; I now volunteer in my technical society in organizing music socials that have brought me closer to colleagues worldwide playing jazz with them in their countries. Long live the Jazz@Rensselaer program and the memories and opportunities it creates."

DSW - Bass - Class of 1991

"The benefits provided to me by the Jazz@Rensselaer program were numerous: musical growth through challenge, some really cool hangs and great relationships, and perhaps most importantly, a welcome diversion from an otherwise laser-focused curriculum...."

PF - Trumpet - Class of 2012

"I have enjoyed every moment of my time as a member of Jazz @ Rensselaer! Through Bob’s leadership, Jazz @ Rensselaer provides an opportunity for one to grow as a musician, play jazz with excellence, and have fun all at the same time! I believe Jazz @ Rensslaer is one of RPI’s greatest assets!!"

TP - Drums - Class of 2014

"With its four bands and quality of students, the Jazz@Rensselaer program shows the clear link between excelling in math/science and being an excellent musician. There's something magical that happens when we get together at rehearsal after a day of classes and homework and play that first note - everything else disappears and you can get lost in the music with your fellow jazz lovers."

AW - Class of 2014 (Biochemistry & Biophysics) - Tuba

"The thing I miss most about Jazz at Rensselaer is the community that our band formed during our time there. It wasn't only a place to play music, but to get out our frustrations and to have fun! Being band manager helped me to build confidence amongst some wonderfully talented musicians."

BT - Class of 2011 - BS Biochemistry and Biophysics - Former Manager - Contemporary Jazz Ensemble

"If RPI became my new home, then the musicians of the RMA became my new family. Music is my passion, and getting to share it with others who were just as passionate meant a lot to me. These people got me through the struggles of studying engineering."

JF - BS Biomedical Engineering 2014

"Jazz@Rensselaer under the unrivaled direction of Bob Button was an integral part to my success at RPI. Monday nights at Jazz Ensemble gave me a much needed break from the books, allowing me to continue studying music and performing even while pursuing an engineering degree. Also, if it weren't for Jazz@Rensselaer I might not have laid eyes on my lovely fiance behind the piano. I'm not sure what my college career and life to follow would look like without Jazz@Rensselaer, but I guarantee you it wouldn't be half as awesome."

MF - BS Aerospace 2010 / MS Aerospace 2014

"The Contemporary Jazz Ensemble helped me maintain my sanity during the most rigorous weeks of classwork at RPI. It's a great weekly break from math and science!"

JE - B.S. Mechanical Engineering Class of 2014

"Joining the RPI jazz program was a great way to make high quality music, meet cool people, and blow off steam once a week. Bob has made these groups an important part of RPI's culture."

TC - Tenor Sax - Physics - Class of 2013

"Jazz@Rensselaer allowed me to become a musician through playing in ensembles of varying styles, from Straight Ahead Jazz, to Street Funk, to Reggae, to Afro-Cuban. Nothing like playing in a big band, let alone 3. I also grew as a performer and my ability to listen by playing in probably every venue RPI and Troy had to offer, from acoustically perfect concert halls concert halls to lunch halls to churches. These experiences,opportunities, and memories are not always available in the real world, let alone any regular old engineering school. Every musician at RPI should take advantage."

NC - Trumpet - Electrical Engineering-Class of 2012

"The jazz program at RPI is a collection of stellar musicians playing tunes that cover a wide section of the genre, and was a wonderful part of my experience at RPI. It is the most professional student group I've ever participated in."

MK - Vibes - B.S. Physics, 2011

"Coming to ACJO every week was an awesome release of energy, and a break from the pace of the rest of my studies. Jazz at Rensselaer's a ton of fun, and you get to see a creative side of some of your fellow students that you'd never see in the classroom. I hope the bands stay as lively for years to come!"

DL - Congas - Physics - Class of 2014

"The Jazz program at RPI has been growing tremendously over the past few years, and with its frequent performances and hard-working members, it's no wonder that more and more students are participating. The diversity of musical styles and the number of leadership opportunities available provide a great environment for students to grow and learn outside of the classroom."

HL - B.S. Business & Management 2012, Minors in Communications and Music - Club Advisor (SARP)

"Jazz@Rensselaer was one of the major things that drew me to RPI. It's really easy to get wrapped up in the engineering and the numbers and miss out on self-expression and relaxation. Jazz@Rensselear gave me a weekly vacation away from my career and let me do something I truly enjoyed and felt proud of."

KG - Trombone - Aeronautical Engineering '13

"Drumming in the Jazz@Rensselaer program was an integral part of my educational experience. The wealth of knowledge that I amassed in the program has enabled me to pursue music as a parallel career. Rensselaer lived up to its pitch of moving towards a more well-rounded, university style environment, due in large part to this strong commitment to music."

JP - Drums - BS Physics, 2009 - MS Physics, 2011

"My involvement in the Jazz @ Rensselaer program allowed me to express myself in ways that weren't common at RPI. Joining the program was one of the best decisions I made while attending Rensselaer because of the leadership roles and the ability to continue to play jazz as a way to escape my intense studies."

AJ - Trombone - BS Civil Engineering - 2014

"Jazz @ Rensselaer was a must-have experience for me. With limited time as an undergrad for extracirriculars it was a unique experience to break the pace of an engineering course load. As an ideal outlet to work with a great instructor and many talented peers it kept me inspired to stay in touch with the music I may have otherwise lost."

SM-Baritone Sax - Class of 2009 B.S., Civil Engineering

"Before I came to RPI, I barely could play upright bass. Thanks to Jazz @ Rensselaer and Bob Button, I learned the art of jazz bass with many opportunities to play. Bob was also generous enough to loan me his electric bass. If not for that kind gesture, I would never have made the friends or had the experiences the world of music offered at RPI and beyond."

JA - Bass - Biomedical Engineering - Class of 2012