Semester concludes with a final jazz concert


Brynn Lundy/The Lion's Roar

Mike Williams, a native of Louisiana, is known for his position as lead trumpet in the Count Basie Orchestra. He joined the University Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Lab Band as a guest artist in their final concert of the fall 2019 semester on Wednesday, Nov. 20.

The music department concluded the season with a last jazz concert.

Presented by the Department of Music and Performing Arts and the Lyceum Arts & Lectures Committee, the university Jazz Lab Band and Jazz Ensemble performed the final concert of the fall 2019 semester. It was held on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the Pottle Music Building Recital Hall. 

Michael Brothers, lecturer of percussion and director of jazz and percussion studies, directed the Jazz Ensemble at the concert. 

Brothers explained that the performance was a significant one for the department, as it was a preview for the upcoming 2019 Louisiana Music Educators Association concert. 

“It’s an honor that only comes once every 12 years, and it’s shared amongst all the universities in the state of Louisiana,” stated Brothers. “This year it’s our turn. Starting tomorrow evening, four major ensembles here in the music department, the university choir, symphony orchestra, jazz ensemble and wind symphony, perform starting tomorrow night, over the next few days. So, tonight’s concert is a preview of what we will be performing Saturday evening for the all-state music students and high school graduates who are in the state of Louisiana. So this is a big deal.”

Mike Williams, Louisiana native and a trumpeter, is noted for the position he held as lead trumpeter for the Count Basie Orchestra. Williams served as a guest artist at the concert. Brothers described Williams as a long-time friend and shared that they were able to catch up while preparing for the concert.




“I reached out to him and said, ‘You wanna come home and do a couple concerts?’ and he immediately said yes,” explained Brothers. “So, we began putting things together, planning the music, over the next several months. It’s all come together this week.”

Brothers thanked Austin Dugas-Higdon, a senior music major, for the effort he put in the band. The concert was second to last for Dugas-Higdon in the university.

“He’s been our lead player the whole four years I’ve been here,” shared Brothers. “I’ve appreciated his musicianship and his leadership in the ensemble. He’s made a huge huge difference, and he’s gonna be very very difficult to replace.”

Dugas-Higdon’s concentration is education. He shared what it’s been like juggling school work and preparation for his final concerts at the university. 

“It’s definitely one of the hardest semesters I’ve had playing, mainly because we’re preparing for this big conference,” shared Dugas-Higdon. “Me being a student-teacher, I’ve got to do all my work for school, then I have to come here after school and make sure that I can play my part. So I’m having to spend a lot of individual time making sure that I can play. Then we spend a lot of time with just the trumpet section, making sure that we sound good for the band. Every group is doing their own sectional thing, and then we come together Mondays and Wednesdays. It’s really a lot of work, but it pays off in the end.”