Pianist Thomas Briggs and Clarinetist/Saxophonist Andrew Sherwood present a history performance/lecture entitled, “America’s Music from Ragtime to Swing: Music from 1890-1935.” Their presentation takes you on a journey from the early styles of Ragtime, Blues, Tin Pan Alley, and Dixieland up through the Swing Era. Briggs and Sherwood are retires of the United States Coast Guard Band and have performed together countless times during their long careers.
Thomas Briggs is the Music Director at the Community Music School in Centerbrook, CT and has been a member of the faculty since 1985. He offers private instruction on piano, composition, percussion, drum-set, computer technology, and jazz piano and improvisation. Since 1996, he has directed the CMS Jazz Ensemble and has produced over 85 arrangements and compositions for the group. He has recently started new projects at CMS including a new digital piano lab, an adult performing ensemble and a world drum percussion ensemble. As an award-winning published composer, he has written and arranged many works for symphonic winds to percussion, chamber groups and jazz ensembles. He has published a beginning-intermediate piano method book, two drum-set and two snare drum method books. Upon his retirement of 30 years with the Coast Guard Band, he was the principal percussionist, arranger/composer, and musical director of the Coast Guard Masters of Swing jazz septet. He studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston and received his BA in Music Education, Summa Cum Laude, at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst in 1978.