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Foxborough teen to play at Newport Jazz Festival

 Raymond Fuller of Foxborough will be a part of Sunday’s opening act at the Newport Jazz Festival, playing with the Massachusetts Music Educators Association’s All-Star Jazz Band.

Raymond Fuller of Foxborough will be a part of Sunday’s opening act at the Newport Jazz Festival, playing with the Massachusetts Music Educators Association’s All-Star Jazz Band.

TRUMPETING A VIRTUOSO: Raymond Fuller of Foxborough has done a lot in his young musical life.

The 18-year-old graduate of Foxborough High School has played trumpet in many bands at his high school and at various gigs in the area, and has taught privately. Come fall, he’ll enter Ithaca College, which began as the Ithaca Conservatory of Music in 1892.

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On Sunday, Fuller can add another significant item to his musical résumé: He’ll be part of the opening act at the Newport Jazz Festival, playing with the Massachusetts Music Educators Association’s All-Star Jazz Band.

“It’s very exciting, being on the main stage and the opening act,” Fuller said. “It’s such an honor to be there with all those artists.”

Fuller began his musical career as a child, “always one to bang on the drums,” and starting studying trumpet in the fifth grade, drawn to it “because a lot of my friends were playing it and I wanted to be like them, I guess.”

In high school, he played in nearly every musical group at the school, including the concert band, marching band, wind ensemble, jazz ensemble and symphony orchestra. And all along the way, Fuller said, he learned from a master, Stephen C. Massey, longtime head of the Foxborough school system’s music department.

“He’s amazing, he teaches so many kids to make it in the real world, not just about music, but everything,” Fuller said. “He always related that being a better musician is like being a better person. He teaches leadership classes and correlates it to being a section leader in the band and how it helps you move forward as a person.”

From Massey, Fuller said he learned about Duke Ellington and how his style “was a different world, his arrangements were perfect and expressive. I like listening to a lot of guys, like Freddie Hubbard, an amazing musician and trumpet player.”

For his skills, Fuller landed a $5,000 scholarship from Boston-based Natixis Global Asset Management, a festival sponsor. He’d thought of attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, but sought a more well-rounded education at Ithaca, which also has “one of the best musical education programs in the country.”

He likes the freedom of playing jazz, where “you can say whatever you have to say, and none of it is wrong. Someone will say, ‘Yeah, man, that sounded good,’ or ‘You should play this.’ I like that freedom that, say, a concert band doesn’t have. I like concert, but it’s not as interactive with the other players.”

Fuller knows how huge playing the Newport Jazz Festival is and is honored to be there, not just as a player, but a fan.

As to beyond college, Fuller said, “I’d love to expand my knowledge of music to become a teacher and share my love of music with others. Like Mr. Massey did with us.”

BACKPACK DRIVE: Interfaith Social Services in Quincy has launched its second annual backpack drive, gathering up packs full of donated school supplies to give to the children of the nonprofit agency’s food-pantry clients, said Rick Doane, Interfaith’s executive director.

“When a family is struggling to put food on their table, school supplies can start to seem like a luxury,” Doane said. “This initiative is a way that we can make sure that doesn’t happen.”

The drive’s goal is 500 backpacks. Interfaith asks for pre-packed backpacks to be dropped at its office, rather than donating individual supplies. Two types are needed: kindergarten to Grade 5 and Grades 6 to 12. All should include loose-leaf paper, spiral notebooks, two pocket folders, No. 2 pencils, and an eraser.

For K-5 packs, suggested additional items are washable markers and/or crayons, glue sticks, and safety scissors. For older grade levels, additional items could include a calculator, binder, index cards, and pens. Each bag should be labeled by grade level to speed distribution, Doane said.

Donations can be dropped off at Interfaith’s office at 105 Adams St., Quincy. For more information, visit www.interfaithsocialservices.org.

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Donna Roth, founder and CEO of Cool Gear International in Plymouth, received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in New England. As regional winner, Roth is eligible for the national award, which will be named at an annual gala in Palm Springs, Calif., in November. The award recognizes high-growth entrepreneurs who are successful in their businesses and communities.

Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at Kandarian@globe.com.
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