By Chris Fish
BREVARD -- After conquering space, former astronaut Capt. Winston Scott intends to explore the experimental world of jazz music with his band.
The Foosaner Art Museum at the Florida Institute of Technology will host the Florida Tech Jazz Syndicate, which will feature Capt. Scott on trumpet, on Feb. 1 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
In addition to Capt. Scott, the group consists of David Jarkey on piano, Ashley Ferguson on saxophone, Ian Koss on bass and Reid Siljestrom on drums.
Capt. Scott, senior vice president for external relations and economic development at Florida Tech, participated in two NASA space shuttle missions. During the missions, Capt. Scott served as a flying engineer for flying parts of the missions. He also spacewalked three times during the two missions.
For three years, Capt. Scott said the jazz band offers an outlet to explore various other areas of his life beyond flying and space travel.
"We needed a venue for our music students, needing greater opportunities of developing their improvisational skills. I was asked to direct the group at the time and have enjoyed it ever since," Capt. Scott said in an email. "No activity can replace flying space. Spaceflight is a life-changing event. Jazz is a hobby I enjoy playing, arranging and composing. Music and science/technology all are part of who I am and what I do."
Capt. Scott said he prefers playing jazz due to its challenging nature.
"Jazz is the most creative and most challenging music to play," he said. "The jazz musician has to have the skills and knowledge associated with performing other genres of music but must also be able to improvise."
Jazz Friday at the Foosaner Art Museum allows visitors to listen to live jazz, as they view current exhibits for free, organizers said.
On display, during this Jazz Friday, will be "I Am Nature: Paintings By Leslie Wayne" which will run through March 17.
The Renee Foosaner Education Center, a part of the museum, participates in the Eau Gallie Art District's First Friday Art Walk the first Friday of each month, organizers said.
During the art walk, hands-on activities and tours of the art studio, where workshops and classes are held, are offered along with the art walk.
With his talent for playing jazz, Capt. Scott said he encourages everyone to explore other things and become well-versed in multiple areas of their lives.
"I also like to encourage students to not limit themselves to one discipline," he said "They can and should be multi-dimensional persons; well-rounded and capable of doing many diverse activities well. That is what makes life full and rich."
The Foosaner Art Museum is located at 1463 Highland Ave. in the Eau Gallie Arts District of Melbourne.
For more information, call Tina Murray at (321) 674-8919.