Dutchess County Executive's Arts Awards 2023
James Osborn started out as a part-time trumpet teacher at Vassar College 40 years ago right after graduating college. “It was a part time job,” he says. But today, he directs the college’s Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combos and Wind Ensemble—as well as teaching the trumpet. “It’s definitely a full-time job now,” he says.
Jim is the 2023 recipient of the Dutchess County Arts Award for Arts Educator.
But for Jim, who was born and raised in Dutchess County, Vassar is just a part of his busy career as a musician. He also teaches full-time at Roosevelt High School in Hyde Park where he conducts the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Jazz Ensemble, Pit Orchestra and Pep Band. On the weekends, Jim, who has a Master of Music degree from The State University at Stony Brook, teaches private trumpet clients and has a full performing schedule as well. “I play with different jazz groups,” he says. “I just did a nice faculty jazz concert at Vassar, I’ve played with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, Bobby Vinton, Tony Bennett, I’ve had my own band—just about everything you could imagine.”
Interest in the trumpet has held steady through the years, according to Jim. “The trumpet is very popular in my high school bands. We have more trumpets than just about any other instrument.”
Jim, who lives in Town of LaGrange with his wife Janice and their three dogs, continues to love playing music, and is happy that he ditched his original plans to attend law school. He also loves teaching. “Sometimes there’s a kid who is kind of blasé and then, all of a sudden you hit something right with them and they catch fire. That never gets old.”