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Higher Education
College of the Mainland
News Release
Thursday, February 23, 2012


TEXAS CITY -- College of the Mainland’s Jazz Ensemble shared the stage with Texas City ISD student bands during an exciting evening of musical excellence Saturday, Feb. 18 at the new Texas City High School auditorium.

The Jazz Ensemble headlined the show, accompanied by renowned trombonist Ron Wilkins.

“It was a lot of fun,” COM Jazz Ensemble director Sparky Koerner said. “That guy is a multi talented musician. I’ve known Ron since the late 1970s at North Texas.”

Wilkins, who had just returned from performing in Russia, said COM’s Jazz Ensemble is “one of the better big bands in the country.”

Joseph Figarelli, Director of Fine Arts for Texas City ISD, said the experience was an invaluable one for his students.

“Our students get to see an older group of incredible musicians,” Figarelli said. “It opens many doors and they can see the possibilities out there for them.”

COM’s Jazz Ensemble has an ecletic mix of musicians, from trumpet players Ken Kirk and Ted Williams, both of whom have more than 30 years of experience, to Kendal McLaughlin, a Santa Fe High School student.

The band is still looking for qualified percussion, flute and trombone players.

“I really like the departure from professional life,” said tenor saxophonist Ed Copeland. “I really have a lot of fun. It’s a great diversion.”

Copeland said it’s great to inspire younger musicians by playing on the same bill.

“Kids understand (playing music) enriches your life,” he said.

The Jazz Ensemble’s next performance will be the day-long Gulf Coast Intercollegiate Consortium (GCIC) on March 31 at Lone Star College-North Harris. The featured artist will be drummer E.E. Askew, a former member of the U.S. Air Force Jazz Ensemble.

For more information, contact Koerner at 409-933-8347 or

College of the Mainland offers a wide range of classes, from nationally accredited associate degrees and certifications to skills, hobbies and trades. COM has an excellent professor-to-student ratio that helps instructors connect with their classes. We’re the launch pad for success stories throughout the Mainland.

Photo: College of the Mainland’s Jazz Ensemble played alongside renowned trombonist Ron Wilkins on Feb. 18 at the new Texas City High School auditorium. The ensemble shared the stage with bands from Texas City ISD.

Remembering Jim Guidry

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