Robert C. Romans
Robert "Bob" Romans, now retired and living in Lodi, California, taught music in Adventist schools from 1959 to 1965 in California and Colorado, and in the Lodi, California, public school system in elementary through high school levels from 1968 until he retired in 1995.
A cornet, trumpet, and euphonium player, he now finds musical fulfillment and enjoyment in leading and playing in the Cell Block 7 Jazz Band, an ensemble that travels widely, and in giving private lessons. His wife, Carole, is a flutist and band director who occasionally joins with the Cell Block 7 group to do specialty numbers.
Upon graduating from Campion Academy in 1950, Romans served in the army in the Korean conflict for two years. Two years after he left the service, he attended Union College ,where he played under H. Lloyd Leno for three years, and then completed a B.S. in music education at Southern Missionary College, now Southern Adventist University, in 1959, where he worked with Burton Jackson.
An jazz aficionado beginning in his academy years, he was frustrated while attending Adventist schools, which at that time disapproved of that type of music. He talked about some of his experiences during those years:
When I went to SMC in 1957, I was two years younger than than the men’s dean. One night a drummer, piano player, and I were on the second floor in the parlor playing the old hymn “When the Saints Go . . .” you know! I was brought up before administrative council for that and punished.
I have always loved Jazz since my earliest days at Campion Academy. In fact, I got in trouble with the music teacher at that school one day for playing “Always” by Irving Berlin! Can you believe that!
The Cell Block 7 jazz group, organized in 1981, has traveled and played extensively on the West Coast, performing from San Diego to Alaska. They have played in numerous festivals including the Jazz Jubilee in Sacramento, California, the world's largest jazz festival, where for seven years running, they were rated as one of the best groups.
They have toured in Taiwan, China, Israel, England, Scotland, and Eastern Europe, playing in numerous jazz festivals. Most recently, they played in Budapest, Hungary, where they were enthusiastically received at a jazz and ragtime festival.
The group has produced seven CDs. A partial listing of titles includes Caught, Framed, Breakout!, Most Wanted!, Hard Time with Cell Block 7!, and Over the Wall with Cell Block 7!.
Romans, a proponent of youth jazz bands, is committed to pass on his love of and expertise in this area to young musicians. He first began working with young players in 1988, when he became involved with youth bands sponsored by the San Joaquin Dixieland Jazz Society.
Since then he has started and coached several youth jazz ensembles with names such as Hot 'N' Tots, The Alley Cats, and The Barkin' Dawg Jazz Band. These bands have played in festivals across the country, in Canada, and nearer home, in the Jazz Jubilee in Sacramento, California. His latest project is a band called The Alligator Stomperz. Modeled after Lu Watters' Yerba Buena Jazz Band, its members range from 6th grade to 8th grade students. Nine former members of his youth bands are now playing professionally.
Sources: Emails, April 2006 and December 2007.