Milligan to offer jazz workshop for high school students

Jazz WorkshopMILLIGAN COLLEGE, TN (March 5, 2014) — Milligan College will host a free jazz workshop for area high school students on Saturday, March 29, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Milligan’s Seeger Memorial Chapel.

Attendance is open to high school juniors and seniors, but preregistration is required. Online registration is available at or by calling 423.461.8723.

Workshop topics will include jazz improvisation, ensemble playing, how to play different jazz styles, and jazz articulations and phrasing.

The workshop will be led by Rick Simerly, associate professor of music at Milligan. Simerly joined Milligan’s faculty in 2001 after two decades in music education in the public schools.

In addition to serving as band director at T.A. Dugger Junior High School in Elizabethton, Tenn., since 1979, Simerly has carved out a niche for himself in the professional world of music.

He has been called “one of the most exciting and consistently creative trombonists in jazz today” by world-renowned jazz educator and composer David Baker.

Simerly has played in the bands of Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman, Nelson Riddle Harry James, Bob Crosby and Charlie Spivak. He also has performed with many jazz greats including Billy Taylor, James Moody, Rufus Reid, Jon Faddis, Bobby Shew, Milt Hinton, Bobby Watson, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Plas Johnson, Tommy Newsom and many others.

He has toured with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and performed with such entertainers as Frank Sinatra Jr., Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Lou Rawls, Gladys Knight, the O’Jays, the Commodores, the Temptations, the Four Tops and numerous others.

As a clinician he regularly performs clinics and concerts throughout the United States including the renowned Brubeck Institute and is a veteran instructor at the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops.

Having been a featured soloist for the International Association of Jazz Educators, The International Trombone Association Festival and the Mid-West Band and Orchestra Clinic, he serves as an endorsing artist and educational specialist for Rath Trombones, Huddersfield, UK.

Simerly has numerous recordings and two solo jazz CDs, “Simple/Complexity” and “Obscurity.”

He holds a Master of Arts degree from East Tennessee State University. At Milligan, Simerly teaches a variety of music courses and leads a jazz studies emphasis in the music area.

To learn more about Milligan, visit

Posted by on March 5, 2014.