Jazz Studies Graduate Student
Portland State University
Currently pursuing a master's degree in jazz studies at Portland State
University, Corey Heppner '10 also performs around the Portland area
as a leader of his jazz trio and with his funk/hip hop/jazz group, Neighbors.
How has your Knox experience affected the course of your life?
Being at Knox gave me the most fun, mysterious, and exciting adventure I've ever had. The high value on imagination and human-connectedness that the Knox community seems to breathe daily has changed me for the better, almost leaving me with a "message" to carry on the rest of my life.
How has your Knox experience made an impact on your career?
It was at Knox College that my experience with jazz music began, and I credit it as the cradle of my creative growth as an artist of original "American" music. The jazz department is extremely supportive and instills the values of "good" music and how to relate with fellow musicians in the hearts of its students. Being able to play every week at McGillacuddy's, connecting with other members of the community -- be them students, teachers, or fellow musicians -- was one of the most gratifying and affective experiences in my life that has shaped how I approach my professional career now.
Did any Knox contacts lead to your current career?
My educators in the Music Department (namely Nikki Malley, and more) helped me with letters of recommendation for my current position and continue to support my endeavors even though they are taking place 2,000 miles away.
Describe a memorable experience and the impact it had on you.
Playing in the Knox Jazz Ensemble. The Rootabaga Jazz Festival is an incredible experience that I return to Knox for yearly. Professor Nikki Malley does an incredible job of making rehearsals and performances embody some of the most important aspects of music performance, from professionalism to fun to building a strong community around music.
What surprised you about Knox?
The impressive level of creative output by its students.