Alexandre Pabst, 21, discovered playing bass at age 15. While he formed bands and played with friends, he didn’t consider a music a career. That changed when he started attending Lane Community College three years ago. Now, he’s about to transfer to the University of Oregon with a prestigious scholarship for $30,000 over three years with the option for a fourth year.
“When I first started going to college I was exploring other things but music was what I wanted to do, so I declared my major as music,” says Pabst, who moved to Eugene from Arizona at the age of 13. “I love the courses at Lane because we’re learning how to play jazz by playing it.”
One of the courses Pabst took was Jazz Combos, taught by Olem Alves. In that course, students perform in small groups at a Eugene jazz venue called The Jazz Station. Pabst was reluctant.
“I was generally a shy person and hadn’t performed for people very much,” Pabst says. “I took an improv class with Olem and I was too shy even to perform in a classroom. Olem really worked with me a lot.”
At first Alves wasn’t sure Pabst would finish the two-year program. “He would hardly show up to the improv class,” Alves recalls. “He didn’t do well and didn’t seem engaged. Now, fast forward, he’s receiving one of the biggest scholarships that the UO gives out. It's student successes like these that make me proud to be a part of the LCC music program.”
It was during a winter term 2017 Jazz Combos performance that UO bass instructor Tyler Abbott approached Pabst about auditioning for the UO. “It was a shocker,” says Pabst. “He was asking me to audition a year earlier than I had planned to transfer to UO. But I did the audition for jazz and for classical performance and I got in.”
Without the support and encouragement from Lane’s music staff, Pabst believes he would have “tanked” his audition. “I really would not have been ready on my own,” he says. “I practiced a lot and I got a lot of great advice on how to audition from the teachers here at Lane. The teachers gave me the knowledge and confidence to successfully audition.”
Although Pabst’s preferred style of music is bebop jazz and hard bop— “The fast, edgy stuff,” Pabst explains—his scholarship is for orchestra performance. Once he completes his schooling, Pabst plans to teach music.
“Being a teacher I see as a way for me to share the experience of music with other people and help keep alive the art of jazz while also getting to play myself,” Pabst explains. “And I know I would not be where I am today if not for the great teachers at Lane who helped me in so many ways.”