Young Musician Matt Barcus Returns to the Central Coast

Our Basin Street Regulars organization has five mission statements. Two of those statements address the future of Traditional Jazz music:

1. To provide young musicians of high school and college age and other beginners with the opportunity to play along with older and more experienced musicians.

Hot Jazz Jubile

2. To provide musical programs at educational institutions as a means of creating interest in traditional jazz among the youth of the area.

Matt Barcus is one of those young musicians. He grew up on the Central Coast, but says “he grew up musically on the stage of the Pismo Beach Veteran’s Hall.”

When he was in high school, 2009-2013, his friends invited him to join them playing Trad Jazz with a small group of people in Pismo Beach. That group was the BSR Jammers, experienced musicians who play together just for fun at the BSR monthly Sunday concerts. Matt played regularly with the Jammers which led to being invited to play for special events, including being part of a traveling group who went to the Sacramento Jazz Festival in 2014. After graduating in 2013, Matt attended the Mammoth Lakes Jazz Festival where he had an unforgettable musical experience and met many people who are now lifelong friends.

UpBeat Records

Matt started playing music in 6th grade and never looked back.

He says, “Music has been an integral part of my life ever since, and I am thankful my parents encouraged me to join the band.” He started playing the trumpet, then switched over to percussion, playing both while he attended Paulding Middle School.

At Arroyo Grande High School, Matt was in the marching band where he learned marimba, which led him to the life of being a professional percussionist. Playing the marimba and the drums helped him secure scholarships for marimba performance, as well as the BSR Trad Jazz Scholarship for the summer of 2013.

After high school, Matt went on to get an associate’s degree in music from Allan Hancock College and then a bachelor’s degree from Sacramento State College in Communication with a minor in Music.

When asked to talk about his musical experiences, Matt explained he enjoys playing and listening to all kinds of music, but his roots as a drummer are still connected to Trad Jazz and his time with the Basin Street Regulars.


He goes on to say almost all of his amazing life experiences over the last 15 years have been connected to music, and he expects the rest of his life will be too. His own words say it best: “I really enjoyed my time learning from mentors at the different camps and clinics I have been fortunate enough to attend. Ever since my time at Jazz Camp, I began sharing my knowledge and love for music with others, helping to raise the next generation of musicians.”

Matt has been a music educator for 10 years now and also credits the BSR Jazz organization for helping him to get his start. He went to college on a number of music scholarships. He was chosen to lead many different award-winning ensembles all over California, which even included taking the Santa Maria Marching Band to Washington, DC for a 4th of July parade!

Just recently, Matt began his official career as a music educator. He is currently the band director for both Mesa Middle School and Nipomo High School. In his own words: “I love giving the gift of music to our communities and to our students, because there is no better gift. I hope to grow my programs at Mesa and Nipomo, and maybe one day we can take our talents to a large stage to compete in music, marching or otherwise.


Matt Barcus
Matt Barcus

“I hope to get kids interested in Jazz, because it is starting to fade with more and more new music coming out every day. I hope my students find the importance of studying old traditions and will attend the new Jazz Camp.

“I am so excited to be back on the Central Coast and to be with my friends and family again. I know this is where I’m supposed to be, sharing my gifts and my talents, and I couldn’t think of a better community to come back to than this one. I look forward to being back on the stage for a Sunday Jam very soon, and I am thrilled to bring my students with me too.

“Thank you all for your continued support over the years. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of my musical mentors, my friends and family, and everyone at the Basin Street Regulars who believed in me from the beginning.”


What better legacy could a group of music lovers leave for the future? Mission fulfilled!

Thank you, Matt Barcus, for taking the time to share your story.

LaDean Talcott is secretary for the Basin Street Regulars (Pismo Beach, CA), one of the grant writers for the club, as well the head of the committee for their Jazz Scholarship program.

Or look at our Subscription Options.