Jaron Woodsley - Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras

Jaron Woodsley

Steel Orchestras Assistant

Photo of Jaron Woodsley from the chest up, wearing suit jacket and open collared shirt with sun on his face

Jaron Woodsley was first introduced to music at a young age as part of the African drumming group with the Plaisance Park Performing Arts Company and took part in festivals and competitions in Trinidad and Grenada. He then joined Golden Hands in 2005 as part of the engine room in preparation for the Trinidad & Tobago National Junior Panorama competition. He graduated from tambourine, to iron (brake drum), and then ultimately to pan in preparation for the 2012 small band panorama. Since then, he has performed at numerous music festivals and competitions with the band. As an individual in the 2016 Trinidad & Tobago Music Festival, he won the sight-reading category for the 16-19 age group, and the best steelpan composition. After completing the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination and graduating from St. Benedict’s College in 2016, he did the Certificate in Steelpan and Music Literacy at the University of Trinidad & Tobago.

Now, at the age of 23, Jaron is in his senior year at Northern Illinois University where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Music with emphasis in Steelpan Performance and a Bachelor of Music with an emphasis in Instrumental Music Education. As a member of the NIU Steelband, he has performed in different parts of Illinois, including at the Chicago Symphony Center with the Chicago Sinfonietta. Jaron has also performed independently around Illinois and frequents Florida to take part in the Miami Carnival Panorama and as a solo entertainer. In December 2020, Jaron released his first album – a holiday album – as an independent artist entitled “Steel in Heavenly Peace”, combining musical styles from the Caribbean with other pop and contemporary styles. Currently, Jaron is completing his time at NIU as he is student teaching at both the Middle School and High School levels to fulfill his education licensure requirements.

What is your favorite song to listen to and why?

Currently, my go to song is “Do It” by Chloe x Halle. It is just a great motivator and mood builder. I blast it out in my room any time I need energy to get something done. As a matter of fact, I’m listening to it right now after a long day of teaching!

What is your favorite musical memory from when you were young?

My favorite musical memory would probably have to be all the festivals that I would take part in with my school choirs or African drumming ensemble. Being a part of something where other students showed a high level of tenacity and skill was very inspiring.

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