In high school, Royal played in several student ensembles, which featured jazz and pop. He built his chops playing piano in jazz band, although piano is no longer his main instrument.
He is a graduate of Northland College in Ashland, WI where he earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Instrumental, Choral, and General Music Education. Royal’s passion for jazz truly ignited in his college years. While studying music education, he met Dr. Quincy Hilliard, a skilled instrumentalist and well known composer. Royal was also principal trumpet in the Chequamegon Bay Jazz Band and Chequamegon Symphony Orchestra.
When listening to jazz, Royal first goes to the great American jazz pianist Art Tatum. He describes Tatum’s work as revolutionary, saying he does “things that other jazz artists don’t even think of doing.”
Royal’s favorite type of jazz experience is playing in a big band with 18 to 25 musicians. He enjoys the wide range of music for big band, especially the uptempo music. He is inspired by many talented ballad artists who soar in a big band.
Royal is currently inspiring the next generation of Sheboygan North jazz musicians at 07:00 each morning. He also plays trumpet in the Oshkosh Area Community Band and subs in other bands and symphony groups when he has the opportunity.