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HPU to host faculty jazz concert celebrating Black History Month

Howard Payne University’s Faculty Jazz Recital will mark the beginning of the institution’s celebration of Black History Month. The concert, featuring members of the West Texas Jazz Orchestra and the San Angelo Symphony Orchestra, will be held on Tuesday, February 2, 2021, at 7:30 p.m. in Mims Auditorium on the HPU campus.

“Jazz, recognized as an art form, was largely developed by African-American musicians in the 20th century, and is celebrated throughout the world as America’s only original contribution to world culture,” said Stephen Goacher, professor of music at HPU and member of both the San Angelo Symphony Orchestra and the West Texas Jazz Orchestra. “The program will feature compositions by African-American composers musically celebrating ideals of spirituality, freedom, equality, democracy, diversity, integration and the necessity of invention.”

The faculty artists will explain jazz as well as perform jazz to help the audience gain a fuller appreciation of the music. Several selections will be from the Big Band era and from the Great American Songbook.

In addition to Goacher, the concert will feature Dr. Jeffrey Cottrell, associate dean of Hardin-Simmons University’s School of Music; Dr. John Irish, professor of music at Angelo State University; James Bode, principal percussion of the San Angelo Symphony Orchestra, leader of the West Texas Jazz Orchestra and adjunct faculty member at Angelo State University; Rev. Henry Smith, music minister of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Abilene and noted composer of worship music; and Luke McMillan, founder of Luke McMillan Music Publishing Co. and well-known music educator in West Texas.

Admission is free and the public is invited. The musicians will be practicing safe social distancing and will be wearing masks except when needed to be removed to play. Attendees will be asked to observe proper social distancing, wear face coverings and avoid attendance if positive for, exposed to or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. For more information about HPU’s health and safety policies, please visit

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


Photo cutline: HPU’s Stephen Goacher will be featured at the upcoming Faculty Jazz Recital on February 2.