OSU faculty Anthony Stanco schools the world
Anthony Stanco is living the dream. He is a trumpeter, composer, bandleader, a lecturer in the School of Music at Ohio State, and, sweetest of all, travels the world with his band, Anthony Stanco and The Crucial Elements. He has traveled to seven countries—including exotic destinations like Kyrgyzstan, South Africa, and Indonesia—all for one purpose: to play jazz and promote cultural exchange through a program called American Music Abroad funded by the U.S. State Department.
“My favorite part of the program is the cultural exchange that we can have with all of these countries. We are able to learn about a lot of different cultures and bring that back with us. Plus, being able to be ambassadors for America is really a great experience,” Stanco said.
Stanco’s zealous body language exemplifies his passion for travel—his eyes and body move and sway while reminiscing about his time abroad. Anthony Stanco and The Crucial Elements performed in a wide variety of venues—from orphanages and schools, to concert halls and large music festivals with thousands of people.
“Once, at an orphanage there was no stage or microphone. The drummer literally had a suitcase he used as a base drum—we had nothing so we just performed an entire acoustic show,” Stanco said. “One of the other times there were flames coming out on the sides of the stage, which is a little excessive for a jazz show, but that’s the range of places we perform at.”
Stanco’s overarching theme while performing is using music as a catalyst to spread love and positivity. Stanco’s affinity for trumpeting makes sense considering he started playing at age 10. His mom kept a paper he wrote in sixth grade where he claimed he wanted to go to music school and become the next Louis Armstrong.
Stanco fulfilled his prophecy by attending the music school at Michigan State, where he eventually met his band and toured abroad, just like Louis Armstrong.
Stanco funds his lifestyle through his philosophy of having three major ways to make money. For him, it’s teaching, performing, and composing music. He believes it’s hard to make a living by doing just one thing. His students are blessed to have his company and to soak up his profound knowledge of jazz.
Stanco reveals that he mentors aspiring musicians because he was lucky enough to have mentors throughout his life.
“In jazz we say, ‘each one, teach one,’” he says. “It’s almost like my duty to the music to pass knowledge along.”