The main jazz ensemble of the Reunion Music Society is the RMS Jazz Orchestra which encompasses several groups, including a big band and big band with strings. The jazz ensemble has collaborated with the strings sections of the Orchestra to present a Jazz with Strings program on several occasions.
The Reunion Big Band, which was started in 1977, celebrated its 40th year in October 2017 at the RMS 25th anniversary celebration .
Tenor saxophonist Herb Smith is the director of NOVA-Annandale’s Jazz Studies program, a position he’s held since 1976. He brings a mastery of jazz technique to his students as well as a love and understanding of the communal nature of the jazz culture. Born in Decatur, Ala., Herb moved with his family to Memphis, Tenn., at an early age. He attended Manassas High School, which the legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis once called the greatest music school in the country, as it produced such gifted musicians as Hank Crawford, Isaac Hayes, George Coleman, Jamil Nasser, Frank Strosier, Charles Lloyd, Harold Mabern and Booker Little.
Herb graduated from the University of Kansas and earned his graduate degree in music performance at Southern Illinois University. During his career, he has contributed to the understanding and the dissemination of “America’s true art form” by hosting two jazz radio programs in St. Louis. Additionally, he was a professor of Jazz Studies at Howard University in Washington, D.C., before joining the music department at NOVA-Annandale.