Trey Sorrells, Jazz Musician

You may have seen our newest Campus Celebrity skateboarding through the streets of Richmond, but that and his dreads aren't the only thing he should be known for. Twenty year-old Trey Sorrells from Portsmouth, Va. is a junior studying Jazz Studies with an emphasis in Saxophone Performance. His junior recital coming up this week is ten years in the making.

Trey actually started out playing his trumpet in sixth grade after his mom got him into middle school band (he had the same band teacher that his mom had!) but switched to saxophone in seventh grade.

“The trumpets would sit over here and the saxophones would sit over there,” he said. “And as I’m like, sucking on the trumpet and not playing any of the music right, I’m just looking over at the saxophones. Something about the saxophone was calling me. I knew it was meant to be.”

He really got his start playing in church. After missing a few notes in front of the thousand-person congregation, his dad bought him a book of scales and told him to learn them. His step-mom would make him learn songs before he could watch tv and play games.

"The most essential training I ever had was my step-mom...she didn't have any experience, she just knew it didn't sound right," said Trey.

He said his parents have always been his biggest supporters, but they aren't his only influences. VCU alum Billy Williams Jr. is a "drum extraordinaire," said Trey. He also likes saxophone player Brent Birckhead who graduated from Howard University. "He's playing gigs every night...he's everything I strive to be like," said Trey.

His friends have also been a big influence. Trey auditioned for a spot in the Governors School for the Performing Arts in Norfolk, Va. after a friend told him he wasn't progressing enough. And sure enough, he got in and ended up being really excited to go.

Those four years prepared him for what was next.

"I chose VCU specifically because I knew there were some good players in Richmond and I wanted it to be difficult to get on the scene, but not too difficult," said Trey.

And as of recently Trey has really been on the Richmond music scene. He's been playing with the Justin Esposito Quintet and is going to start transitioning into RVA Big Band. He sometimes plays with Roger Pouncey Quartet, and as for VCU, he's the lead alto saxophone in Jazz Orchestra I.

Trey is also in VCU Africa Small Jazz Ensemble. Over spring break, Trey visited South Africa with the music department for the third time. VCU Jazz has a partnership with the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa -- the exchange is that we send a group over there and they send a group over here. While Trey was there, he performed concerts, played gigs, took dance classes and explored the culture.

"People there appreciate music in a different way. I can almost feel that they feel what I'm feeling," said Trey.

He's actually receiving credit for it this semester!

Trey said it took up until junior year to become known around the area. That being said, his junior recital is this week, Thursday, April 3rd at 7 p.m. at the James W. Black Music Center. Trey and his friend, roommate and fellow musician Logan Beaver, decided to do their junior recital together back in freshman year. The whole theme is based off of their collaboration. Some of what you'll hear at the recital includes John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter and some originals from Trey. He even wrote a song for his girlfriend that is set to debut at the recital.

"She's beautiful and she deserves the song...she deserves a place in my recital," said Trey.

Logan and Trey will play some pieces together and some independently. The recital will also feature other VCU students; some of who are in the music program and some of who are not.

Trey has come a long way in his music career and still has a long way to go. Since he started playing music he's won various awards like the Garrison Award for Instrumental Music in 2008, Chantilly Jazz Festival Scholarship in 2011 and the Joseph J. Kennedy Jr. Scholarship in 2012. He was featured in the Smithfield Terrific Teen Talent Concert Series in 2011. When asked how he feels about having one more year left, he said, "you're relieved and still stressed at the same time."

Trey wants to continue studying saxophone in the future and is looking into getting his masters at UCLA, University of Miami, Manhattan School of Music, or Howard University.

"Maybe I'll do the whole musician thing going on tour and recording records, then come back and try to teach at a university or performing arts high school," said Trey.

His dream job is being the Director of Jazz Studies at Howard University.

Here's an awesome video featuring both Trey Sorrells and Logan Beaver--

Details about Trey's and Logan's Junior Recital

For more music and his dreadlock journey, check out Trey's YouTube channel