Alumni update - Jordan George's new road

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Sometimes you can just watch a dream unfold. It sure seemed that way, sipping coffee with 2018 OHMF scholarship recipient Jordan George.

For a guy with so much on tap, Jordan was remarkably composed. He’s in the home stretch for his Master’s at WSU. A final recital looms, featuring (we are not making this up) a tuba’s take on a piece originally written for violin. When he flips his tassel on the first Saturday in May, and tucks that MA in Music under his arm… then what?


Jordan’s goal is an orchestral tuba position in a large city symphony. It isn’t hard to envision this confident young man getting exactly what he wants. And it all started right here in Oak Harbor.

Euphonium in 6th grade was followed by tuba in 7th, electric and string bass at age 14, and his first trip to the Oak Harbor Music Festival at 15. “That was my first time ever really seeing live music in that setting.”

Music does inspire.

By the time he reached high school, that first time seeing live music was enough to inspire Jordan and his Second Left bandmates to jump on stage for the OHMF teen talent showcase in 2016 and 2017. Teen talent judges still remember the band’s audition as Green Day’s “American Idiot” ripped through the quiet of the Oak Harbor Library.

Jordan loved the showmanship of rock, but his tuba was taking him to new heights. He earned all-state and all-national performance honors, served as the OHHS drum major, was admitted to the prestigious Central Washington University School of Music, and took home the Oak Harbor Music Festival’s Bruce Lantz Music Scholarship in 2018.

While earning a bachelor's degree in Music studying with Dr. David McLemore, Jordan played wherever he could – symphonic band, symphonic winds, wind ensemble, marching band, tuba euphonium ensemble, trombone choir, brass choir – and earned a spot in the WIBC U Collegiate Honor Band.

WSU’s MA program brought more honors and performance opportunities as Jordan earned a full scholarship for his musical talent, was named principal chair at the WIBC-U Collegiate Honor Band, and won the Washington state round of the MTNA solo competition. As he nears the finish line for his degree, Jordan still performs at least once a week between the Washington-Idaho symphony, WSU symphony, WSU wind ensemble, WSU jazz band, WSU graduate brass quintet, and Whidbey’s own Saratoga Orchestra.

It may wear you out to hear him list the gigs he plays, but Jordan’s eyes twinkle at the variety of changing environments and styles. “In jazz, you improvise a bit. And you can play as loud as you want; in fact, you can never be too loud.” Another night, he’s straight laced but just as inspired in an orchestra – where he has “less latitude, with the goal to play exactly what’s on the page – and play it right. It’s a whole different challenge, trying to bring that composer’s vision to life from hundreds of years ago.”

Jordan shares his passion and talent as a graduate teaching assistant at WSU. He teaches music theory, leads rehearsals, and gives lessons to tuba and euphonium players.

He’s about to open a new chapter and put college in his rearview, but Jordan hasn’t lost perspective. He looks back to those Teen Talent shows as watershed moments.

“I feel like performing in the festival helped me conquer some fears… it helped me become more comfortable with being in front of crowds, despite the anxiety I felt, and really helped me establish my on-stage personality.”

Music continues to inspire.

“Without the motivator of music, who’s to say I ever would have gone to college? I’ve been inspired to succeed and reach out to others.” Jordan adds that without music, he wouldn’t have met so many friends and teachers, and wouldn’t be a month away from a master’s degree.

“Music has inspired me to have a purpose in life, and that purpose is providing music for others to enjoy.”

Jordan loves telling people he’s from Oak Harbor. “My roots are here; I’m proud that this will always be my home. And there’s so much talent here…” he pauses for a second… “but why isn’t there a bigger live music scene? The music festival is amazing, so why can’t this community support more live shows all year?”

You get the feeling this man could grab a baton, rally his community, set the beat… and just darn well make that happen.

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Jordan stands tall on bass in the 2016 OHMF Teen Talent Showcase. Fellow members of Second Left are Ethan Cosper, left, on guitar and vocals, and Q White on drums. Not shown is guitarist Cayden Cosper.