The city takes tremendous pride in artists that we can call our very own, and the response to local trumpet player Josh Rzepka serves as an explicit example of how great music can magnify the strengths of Akron’s arts and culture.
“Akron has got such a great pool of talent. There are so many great musicians, incredible people and educators. It’s a great place to be in Northeast Ohio,” said Rzepka, who plays several styles of music, including classical, jazz and even Mariachi and klezmer music. He says versatility has been essential to his career.
Rzepka will play a cabaret style performance Aug. 15, at 8 p.m. at the Akron Civic Theatre in downtown Akron.
The Akron native began his journey of trumpet performance in fourth grade. His music foundation continued at Firestone High School, where Rzepka participated in several performance groups. After attending Oberlin Conservatory, where he graduated with a double major in jazz and classical music in 2006, the musician continued his education at Boston University, graduating with a master’s degree in classical trumpet in 2010.
By returning to his roots in Akron, Rzepka is bringing quality jazz to the public after having spent time performing in the musically inclined city of Chicago. His music is contagious, fun and energetic. Rzepka credits his inspiration to musicians Dizzy Gillespie, Clifford Brown and Clark Terry for their distinct influence on his music career. He spoke candidly about what elements of music he finds most stimulating.
“I’m drawn to musicians that I can really feel what they’re playing, and I can hear that they’ve got a passion for trying to have a good time. The swing, you know,” he explained as his eyes lit up. He notes that Kenny Davis, whom he describes as a “Cleveland jazz legend” has been a teacher, mentor and friend of his for many years. The music enthusiast confesses he often sat in at Davis’ gigs.
On Aug. 15, Rzepka will offer his own special gig to the public with the help of his fellow performers, pianist David Thomas, bassist Mike Forfia and drummer Ron Godale at the Akron Civic Theatre. “It’s a treat to play with them. Any music you put in front of them, they do good justice to it.” Music content will include originals, along with music by John Lennon, Horace Silver and Freddie Hubbard. The unique cabaret show will also include additional forms of art performance.
Local filmmaker and visual artist Todd V. will be live painting during the performance. The show offers the ultimate collaboration of art and music, guaranteeing both a sonically and visually pleasing experience.
“I’m thrilled to be playing at the Civic again. It’s wonderful that they are giving this opportunity to local musicians. To be able to play in such a prestigious venue, with great sound guys, everything is better than you could ask for.”
To purchase tickets, call (330) 253-3488 or visit www.akroncivic.com/site/page.php?id=422&eventid=1687.
For more additional information about the artist and upcoming shows, visit www.joshrzepka.com.