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Montgomery College Jazz Ensemble & Combo Performs Under New Direction

On Tuesday, October 23, at 7:30 p.m., Montgomery College’s music department will present the first of two jazz concerts slated for the fall semester. Under the direction of the college’s new director of bands, Dr. Tom Smith, the Jazz Ensemble and Combo will present a varied musical program with songs representative of several eras and styles of jazz. The concert will take place on the Mainstage (Building D theatre).

Among the works included on the program will be the Dixieland standard, “Basin Street Blues;” Woody Herman’s famous Swing Era hit, “Woodchopper’s Ball;” Oliver Nelson’s cool jazz classic, “Stolen Moments;” Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Desafinado;” and Thelonius Monk’s “Straight No Chaser.”

As Dr. Smith explains, “With one hundred years of jazz repertoire to choose from, I believe it is very important to select compositions that not only challenge our students musically, but also serve to increase their awareness of the history and evolution of the art form as a whole.” 

In addition to the many jazz standards on the program, of particular interest will be an original jazz composition by student guitarist and composer, Edward (Jamie) Skowron.  According to Dr. Smith, the piece, scored for small group rhythm section and horns, is “a blend of interesting chordal ideas and rhythmic syncopations that combine to create a pensive, reflective work, worthy of recognition.” 

As the newest Montgomery College music faculty member, Dr. Smith is also developing the Symphonic Band program at the college.

“It’s common knowledge that this area of the state is home to some of the finest band programs in Texas, and we are very excited about the future of the instrumental music program at Montgomery College. Already, we have a core group of excellent young musicians,” explained Dr. Smith. “They‘re all very talented and dedicated to the music; it’s been a joy to get to know and work with them this semester.”

The Symphonic Band will present its first concert on Tuesday, November 13, at 7:30 p.m. on the Mainstage at Montgomery College.

As a music educator, Dr. Smith has taught instrumental music in Texas at the middle school and high school levels.  For the past six years, he has taught at Berry College north of Atlanta, GA.  He is a highly sought after adjudicator and clinician, and is active in several professional organizations including the Music Educators National Conference, the International Trumpet Guild, and the International Association of Jazz Educators. 
Dr. Smith received the doctorate of musical arts from the University of Texas at Austin where he studied with the renowned trumpet artist and teacher, Raymond Crisara. Dr. Smith received his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in music education from Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL. 

“It’s an honor to have a teacher of this caliber and experience joining our faculty,” said Dr. Earl Holt, chair of performing arts at the college.  “Before he began teaching, Tom experienced an exceptional career as a jazz and orchestral trumpeter. He’s taught in Texas middle school and high school band programs, and at the college level, and brings a wealth of experience to the job.”

North Harris Montgomery Community College District, among the largest and fastest-growing community colleges in Texas, comprises North Harris College, Kingwood College, Tomball College, Montgomery College, Cy-Fair College, six satellite centers and The University Center.