Milligan College, TN (Nov. 3, 2008) — The Milligan College Jazz Ensemble will present “Yuletide Jazz at Milligan College” on Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m. in Milligan’s Seeger Memorial Chapel. The 23-piece ensemble is under the direction of Rick Simerly, associate professor of music at Milligan.
“This is the most ambitious musical performance we have had since Duke Ellington’s ‘Nutcracker Suite‘and our original production, ‘The Gospel According to Jazz,’” said Simerly. “I have always wanted to feature the Milligan Jazz Ensemble in a concert consisting entirely of Christmas jazz. It will certainly be a unique evening of music featuring jazz renditions of Christmas songs familiar to everyone. I think the entire ensemble is excited about this performance and hopefully it will be one of our best concerts to date.”
Dave Morgan will be the featured artist of the evening on the vibraphone and vocals. Morgan has been a professional musician for 45 years. As a vocalist, drummer and vibraphonist, he has played many styles of music, including funk, jazz, Dixieland, country, rock and pop. He has worked for such names as Bob Hope, Phil Harris, Guy Lombardo, Marvin Stamm, Randy Carmichael (Hoagy’s son), Royce Campbell, Hodd O’Brien and internationally known pianist and composer Dick Hyman. Additionally, Morgan has worked as a studio staff drummer doing jingle work as well as albums with Christian artist Sandy Patti, radio personalities Bob and Tom, and many others.
Morgan has played throughout the southeast and led his own group at the Greenbrier Resort. Additionally, he has performed with the Bluefield State Big Band and Roanoke Jazz Orchestra and traveled with the Frankie Lester, Russ Morgan and Don Edwards orchestras. Morgan also has taught privately and been a clinician in local colleges and public schools. For the past six years, he has been a regular artist for the Highlands Jazz Festival working with Lynn Roberts and the Blue Ridge Jazz Ensemble. Recently, Morgan performed in the Bluemont Music Series.
For the past decade, Morgan has worked the winter Florida circuit, playing the concert tours of Hopkins and Miller, as well as jobs with such musicians as Carl McVicker, bassist for Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, the Uptown Singers (Washington, DC), Kenny Drew, Jr. and the Leon Marion Big Band.
Morgan’s debut CD “Three D in Blue,” in which he plays drums, vibes and sings, has been well received throughout the country.
Joining Morgan are outstanding student ensemble soloists Mark Thie, piano; Dick Davis, Kyle Bothof and Daniel Lockhart, saxophone; Matt Hall and Will Outlaw, trombone; Steve Cooper, Sloan Hill, Jason Bailey and Shane Ladd, trumpet; Tim Wasem and Robert Johnston, guitar; Jake Merrick and Kevin Sanders, bass; and Eddie Dalton, Zach Nicol and Lucas Schmidt, drums.
The concert will feature songs from the libraries of Rob McConnell, Gordon Goodwin, Tom Kubis, Maynard Ferguson and arrangements written especially for the band by Bill Scott.
“In this area, we don’t often get an opportunity to hear a Christmas jazz concert, much less with a great vibraphonist such as Dave Morgan,” said Simerly. “We scheduled it early in December to avoid as many conflicts as possible. It’s our hope that everyone who attends our concert will enjoy this unique evening of music and go away with a little bit of Christmas spirit.”
The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Milligan College music office at 423.461.8723.