Growing up in a Mormon family in Salt Lake City, Renee Rampton’s life has always been filled with music. Renee loved dancing to the big bands of her youth. Learning piano at an early age, Renee became a church organist, and a piano accompanist for dance and ballet schools as well as many local performers. While attending the University of Utah to study classical music, Renee met and married Roger Rampton, percussionist for the Utah Symphony. Both a classical and jazz musician, Roger sparked a life-long passion in Renee for jazz music.
Soon after marriage, Renee and Roger moved to Las Vegas where Roger quickly became the first call percussionist on the Las Vegas Strip. Roger and Renee had four very talented and brilliant children. Sheldon, a New York Times best selling author and computer expert, Debi, a Certified Public Accountant and Oracle Technology Consultant, Dale, amazing percussionist and a Musical Director for Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Kenny, master trumpeter, a member of both the Jazz at Lincoln Center, Sesame Street, and founder, of Jazz Outreach Initiative.
While her children were in school, Renee led a protest against the Clark County School District School Board’s decision to replace string and band teachers and have elementary classroom teachers teach music. Her protest convinced the School Board to change their plan. An Orff music program was installed at the elementary level and a traditional music program was emphasized at the middle school level.
After divorcing in 1978, Renee returned to college and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and her Master’s Degree in Educational Administration. Renee became a teacher and taught for 25 years in the Clark County School District, mostly in elementary education. She credits her musical background and use of music in the classroom as a way to teach young students to listen carefully and accurately. Now retired, Renee loves to travel. In particular, she travels every year to New York to hear the high school finalists for the Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival.
Renee is Secretary Emeritus for the Jazz Outreach Initiative and serves on its Advisory Board.