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Star Quality, Teryn Carter Makes Big Bands Shine

"I believe music improves my life and the lives of everyone who listens to it. I am adopted and supposedly my birth father was a musician. So I'll blame some of my natural instinct on him."

Teryn Carter is an energetic, slender, brunette college student who is totally infatuated with the idea of becoming the next iconic big band arranger. She graduated from Azusa Pacific University, but works part time at Saddleback College.

Carter plans to attend graduate school for jazz arranging and composition at USC and hopes to teach at a university, but right now her hands are full of music paper and pencils as she documents big band charts for Saddleback musicians.

PATCH: Betty Carter (the jazz vocalist) once told me that she started arranging because she couldn't get the 'cats' to play her music the way she heard it in her head.   Is that one of the reasons you (as a singer) were inspired to arrange music?

TERYN CARTER:  Yes! Not that I was not surrounded by great musicians in college, but there is something about being able to write out what’s in your head that brings the tune to life for you. Kristin Korb, the amazing bassist/vocalist, who works at USC and Azusa Pacific University also was very inspirational in helping me develop "my" voice in arrangements. 

PATCH:  Is jazz music your main interest as far as arranging goes, or do you want to dabble in other genres?

TERYN CARTER:  Jazz music is the main interest as far as arranging goes, but I have arranged pieces for the which consists of a flute, clarinet, and cello. I am also working on a private project of acappela choir music based on Pablo Neruda's 100 Love Sonnets.

PATCH:  Who are some of your favorite artists that you listen to on your Ipod?

TERYN CARTER:  "I listen to the classics like Frank Sinatra and Sarah Vaughan, but I love more popular music of today like Dave Matthews, Jamie Cullum and Bruno Mars."

PATCH:   Do you come from a musical family?

TERYN CARTER:  Actually, none of my family is involved with music. I am adopted and supposedly my birth father was a musician. So I'll blame some of my natural instinct on him. I’ve been playing piano since the age of five and guitar from the age of fifteen. I have been singing since the age of twelve. Music has always been one of the most important parts of my life. I literally cannot imagine my life without it.  I believe it improves not only my life, but the lives of everyone that listens to it.

PATCH:  What makes you want to be an arranger?

TERYN CARTER: I love arranging because it allows me to express my feelings on a particular tune. For instance, I recently finished a funk arrangement of the tune "Mean to Me." This tune is usually heard as a ballad since the lyrics make the listener perceive it that way. But I made it an instrumental-only arrangement and wanted to be semi "sarcastic" in my approach. So any chance I get to do that makes it worthwhile. 

I am currently involved with Saddleback College, working for the director of jazz, Joey Sellers. I arrange for the Jazz Lab Band, as well as the big band that meets Wednesday nights. The Big Band Concert in April at the Mckinney Theater featured two of my arrangements. I am also contracted through other schools for big band arrangements. My six-piece band, the Teryn Carter Band, continually strives to perform new arrangements. We play jazz standards, but most of the tunes we do are our own arrangements. We also arrange modern tunes in a jazz style."

You can catch up with Teryn Carter and enjoy her music mastery Friday, July 29, at the Bacchus Secret Cellar in Irvine from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. 

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