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HPU Jazz Ensemble to perform fall concert with special guest “Yogi Berra”

BROWNWOOD – November 5, 2015 –The Howard Payne University Jazz Ensemble will present its fall concert this Monday evening, November 9, in HPU’s Mims Auditorium. The concert will begin at 8:00 p.m. and is free to the public.

The Jazz Ensemble will present “What Is Jazz?,” a fun twist on what makes jazz music unique. In the concert, John Nickols, assistant professor of history and political science at HPU, will portray baseball legend Yogi Berra. Throughout the concert, “Berra” explains jazz music in his legendary convoluted style.

Nickols, a baseball aficionado, is the author of “The Last Three Outs,” a baseball novel with Christian themes. Nickols serves as special assistant to the athletic director at HPU and spent many years as a high school and college basketball coach. His sports background and former career as an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation heavily influenced his writing. The book is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Concert selections include melodies by legendary jazz great Duke Ellington such as It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got That Swing; Stolen Moments and Emancipation Blues by Oliver Nelson; and jazz standard On the Sunny Side of the Street by McHugh and Fields.

HPU seniors Gabriella Glenn Guest of Midlothian and Abraham Cooper of Early will perform Stompin’ at the Savoy written by Edgar Sampson and made popular by Benny Goodman. Cooper and freshman Ray Palousek of Holland will be featured in an exciting piano duel during the concert as well.

Other members of the Jazz Ensemble include Alex Atkinson, junior from Haslet; James Buxkemper, freshman from Ballinger; Ryan Contreras, junior from Early; Jarod Dowling, freshman from Grandview; Daniel Eure, freshman from Early; Joshua Farquharson, senior from Wichita Falls; Evan Fleming, junior from Goliad; Abelardo Flores, freshman from Arlington; Brady Hardin, sophomore from Fort Worth; Christopher Harrell, sophomore from Eastland; Angel Hernandez, junior from Brownwood; Alexandra Lemus, freshman from Ballinger; Garrett Ratliff, sophomore from Cherokee; and Katelyn Zimmer, freshman from Shepherd.

The ensemble is under the direction of Stephen Goacher, professor of music.

“We hope this lighthearted look at jazz helps the concert-goer better understand how the jazz listening experience is unique,” said Goacher.

For more information, contact HPU’s School of Music and Fine Arts at (325) 649-8500.

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Photo cutline: John Nickols, assistant professor of history and political science, will portray Yogi Berra during the HPU Jazz Ensemble’s fall concert.

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