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HCC student jazzed about musical future

January 28, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

While most children his age were playing with GI Joes or Barbie dolls, Zachary Worthy was practicing to become a jazz pianist.

Now 20, the Hagerstown resident said he started playing the piano when he was 7 years old, modeling himself after jazz greats Bill Evans and Oscar Peterson.

"I prefer jazz," Worthy said. "You can kind of make up your own melodies, rhythms and motives ... A lot of classical musicians aren't used to that. With classical, you have to rely on what's on the page."

Worthy said he was turned on to jazz by his parents, LeRoy and Cheryl, who also instilled in him the importance of pursuing an education.

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"I have them to thank," he said. "If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have become an inspirational musician."

Worthy is studying music at Hagerstown Community College. After this semester, he said he intends to transfer to a larger university to continue his studies.

"I want to audition at as many places as possible," he said. "Whoever will give me the most (financial aid) is where I will go."

Worthy said he wants to earn a doctorate in music education and teach on some level, possibly as a band director, private instructor or college professor.

"With musical education, you have to know everything," he said. "You have to learn all you can. I want to pass that on to another musician to get the same benefit."

In addition to the piano, he said he plays the trombone.

Worthy said he practices up to four hours a day and writes his own music. He said he wants to start a jazz band with his two brothers, Aaron, 27, and Eric, 22, who also are accomplished musicians.

"I don't have anything set in stone," he said. "Anything that puts me into music is where I want to be. Making a living doing something that's interesting ... How many people can say they do that?"

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