Phil Thompson, Director
The Jazz Ensemble, formed in 1975, performs a vast array of musical styles, ranging from traditional big band literature to the most contemporary jazz. Its mission is to prepare the students for professional performing opportunities in the jazz and contemporary music fields. The group has toured throughout the Southeast, performing on numerous high school and college campuses. They have shared the concert stage with such notable jazz stars as Maynard Ferguson, were finalists in the 1994 National Collegiate Jazz Festival in Mobile, Alabama, and have performed in concert at the Grove Park Inn Jazz Festival twice. Former members have been Downbeat Magazine College Soloist Award winners. Many have gone on to graduate jazz studies at major universities and are now professional musicians.