Story by Lisa Anderson
Joshua L. Mazur
“I don’t think I’ve ever perceived myself as holding to [inspiration], but I do think I have felt held by it. – Joshua L. Mazur
Our community is tied by the people who bring inspiration to it, and Joshua L. Mazur has certainly brought a deep stirring of the soul to the Ocala area. Originally from Lakeland and currently a resident of Gainesville, he is the Director of Music and Digital Ministry at Abiding Savior Lutheran Church and the conductor of the Ocala Symphony Chorus. “I consider myself a servant of the orchestra that I direct the choir, as all the conductors do.”
The Art of Study
Joshua has always felt drawn to being a conductor. It’s almost easy to imagine him standing in front of the mirror as a child, waving his first baton to a soundtrack of his favorite music. Good or bad, his arms seek to follow the notes and his eyes see the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performing under his leadership. “I wanted to do a lot of things in music, because I have always been taken by what music can do to me and to others, when done well, and the epitome of music-making is leading it from the podium. Leading a big group of people is a thrilling thing.”
He attended the Harrison School for the Arts, which allowed for a great musical education, but not too many opportunities to conduct. “Everyone is a budding genius and a budding conductor. So, there are lots of big fish in a little pond, but I did conduct a few times. Particularly, my director allowed me to compose some music for our little chamber wind ensemble, and I did conduct them in the performance of a suite of pieces and then one other piece. After that, I knew I was hooked.
“Working under great conductors inspired me to be a great conductor,” he conveys in a modest, quiet voice.
Joshua attributes his abilities to the abundance of study material he had at Harrison and during grad school at the University of Florida (UF). He consumed everything available to him through their libraries of DVDs and CDs. “I [was] just trying to hear and see as much as I could, all while [studying] under great conductors. I saw how they [could] take a group of seemingly unrelated people, who may not be affiliated with each other otherwise, and create a cohesive group out of them. I think it was in college that I heard for the first time this idea that beautiful music-making done in large groups is greater than the sum of its parts. I saw firsthand how a bunch of amateurs, for instance, in a community band, under a great conductor, suddenly sounds more professional and is doing musical things that are profoundly unique. Whereas, under a different conductor, maybe they wouldn’t be able to do that.”
Follow Joshua’s Story
This story continues through our Social Media Channels on Instagram and Facebook every Wednesday in November. Be sure to follow us @localamag to find out more about Joshua’s musical journey. #localafollowme