October 16, 2003
The 20th M & M’s Pops Concert will feature three former Oklahoma Baptist University music faculty and also serve as the retirement concert for long time Master of Ceremonies William James (Jim) Brown.
The popular concert will highlight the talents of the OBU Symphonic Band under the direction of Dr. Jim Hansford, professor of music and director of bands, and the Bison Jazz Orchestra led by Kevin Pruiett, assistant professor of music. The “one night only” concert will be at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 24 in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium on the campus of OBU.
Former directors Ron Howell, Steven Goforth, and Pancho Romero are returning to the campus to assist in a time of reflection and celebration of the 20-year tenure of Jim Brown, the only MC of these highly popular concerts.
Dr. Howell is currently on the faculty at the University of Central Oklahoma where he teaches clarinet and saxophone, a variety of music history courses and for 13 years served as the conductor of the UCO Wind Ensemble (1988-2001). He founded the M & M’s Concerts during his 16-year tenure as Director of Bands at OBU.
Dr. Goforth, an OBU alumnus, lives in Tulsa where he owns a private business and continues to perform free lance trumpet in a variety of professional venues. He was trumpet professor and director of the jazz ensemble at OBU from 1986-92. He later served on the faculty at Oklahoma City University in the same capacity.
Dr. Romero currently serves as trumpet professor and director of jazz studies at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. He taught trumpet and directed the Bison Jazz Orchestra at OBU from 1992-2001.
The M & M’s Concert concept was inaugurated in 1984 by Dr. Howell as a fund raiser for the band program. The jazz ensemble director at that time was trumpeter Wiff Rudd, now on the faculty at Baylor University.
“Through the years there are several aspects of the program that have not changed,” Dr. Hansford said. “We have always had a drawing and given away a box of M & M’s. Each program includes a ‘Name That Tune’ segment where audience members may win bags of candy. The musical program is always built around light, more popular musical fare including Broadway tunes, film music, and a novelty number with an occasional more serious work like the multi-media Civil War work we are doing this year. It has also been a tradition that Mr. Brown invite the youngsters in the audience to join him in marching around the auditorium while the band plays a march. "
Several times the band has featured OBU faculty and administrators participating in novelty numbers including the year OBU First Lady Ronda Brister and Vice President Joe Bob Weaver joined faculty members Shirley Jones and Kristen Stauffer-Todd in a work for three vacuum cleaners and a floor polisher with band.
“It brought the house down,” remarked Hansford.
The concert has always featured both the symphonic band and the jazz orchestra.
This anniversary concert will feature a video reflection of past concerts including the antics of Jim Brown, along with a few surprises. The popular “name that tune” portion of the concert will be spotlighting tunes from past performances including themes from some of America’s most popular films and broadway shows.
Former trumpet instructors Goforth and Romero will join current OBU trumpet teacher Kevin Pruiett with the Symphonic Band in a trumpet trio, “The Three Trumpeters” by Agostini. This flashy musical nugget will spotlight the extraordinary talents of these three fine trumpeters. Another highlight of the evening will be a multimedia presentation of the “American Civil War Fantasy” by Jerry Bilik.
Other musical selections on the Symphonic Band program include “Gavorkna Fanfare” by Jack Stamp; “Star Wars Medley” and Theme from “Schindler’s List” by John Williams; “Simply Grand Minuet” from Grand Serenade for an Awful Lot of Winds and Percussion by P.D.Q. Bach and the famous circus march “Barnum and Bailey’s Favorite” by K.L. King. Dr. Howell will guest conduct the up-tempo march and freshman music major, violinist Tabitha King from Kansas City, will serve as soloist on “Schindler’s List.”
The Bison Jazz Orchestra, a name coined by Dr. Romero soon after arriving at OBU, will be performing a number of legendary songs spotlighting the vocal talents of MC Jim Brown, long time voice teacher at OBU who retired as Professor Emeritus of Music in 1997. Brown will join the Jazz Orchestra as vocal soloist on the following musical selections pinned by such greats as Duke Ellington, Richard Rogers, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin: “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” “I’m Beginning to See the Light,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” and “It’s Almost Like Being in Love.” Other selections to be performed by the Jazz Orchestra include: “Groove Merchant,” My Funny Valentine,” “At Last” (featuring band member and vocalist Andrea Dent), “God Bless America,” and “This Can’t Be Love.”
Senior music major and star, jazz saxophonist Jamin Garoutte, who has been sidelined this semester due to an injury to his hand, will guest conduct the Lerner and Lowe tune, “On the Street Where You Live” from “My Fair Lady.”
Both Romero and Goforth will also be performing with the Jazz Orchestra.
Upon admission, each person receives a bag of their choice of either plain or peanut M & M’s to enjoy during the concert. Additional bags are available for purchase during the concert. Each person submits his name and after intermission there is a drawing for a full box of M & M’s. Also, during the concert Mr. Brown finds ways to award bags of the popular candy to various individuals, especially during the “Name that Tune” portion of the concert.
Admission price is $5 for adults and $2 for children between the ages of three and six. Special rates are available for school groups. To reserve tickets or obtain further information please call the OBU Fine Arts office at 878-2305. Tickets may also be purchased at Lasting Impressions in MacArthur Park just behind Billy Boys Barbecue.
“This concert has always catered to families and this year will be no different,” said Dr. Hansford. “We have planned an exciting evening of great music, reflection, reminiscence; top quality entertainment for all ages.”