Alum Becomes an Educator at a Texas University

TXST Alum Lizzy Mora sitting under a tree holding a clarinet and a tenor saxophoneA native of North Mexico, Elizabeth “Lizzy” Mora graduated from Texas State University-San Marcos with a bachelor’s in All-Level Music Studies Instrumental Concentration in Spring 2017. She currently serves as woodwind professor for the Music Department at Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) and is a private lesson teacher in Ennis ISD, Duncanville ISD, and Red Oak ISD. Mora maintains a private lesson studio of diverse age groups and musical abilities. She strives to create a positive impact in the next generation and a lifelong appreciation of the arts. In December of 2019 Mora received a Master’s in Educational Leadership from SAGU.

TXST Faculty at JEN 2020

Texas State University Jazz Faculty. From left to right: Russell Haight--sax, Hank Hehmsoth--piano, Utah Hamrick--bass, and emeritus faculty John Mills--sax.John Mills’ Times Ten group gave a great Jazz concert in “the Big Easy,” New Orleans, on Friday, January 10th at the 11th Annual Jazz Educator Network International Conference (JEN). This marked Times Ten’s 3rd appearance at JEN. Times Ten is described as “a powerhouse 10-piece ensemble on the renowned Austin, Texas scene. Rhythmic drive, melodic surprise and harmonic imagination are the band’s signature with the leader’s innovative compositions putting a contemporary, groove-based spin on the big band tradition, interweaving dynamic ensemble passages with virtuosic improvisation.”

Pictured are four Texas State Jazz Faculty, left to right: Russell Haight–sax, Hank Hehmsoth–piano, Utah Hamrick–bass, and emeritus faculty John Mills–sax.

McCain Winter Activities

Three trombonists standing together, smiling for the camera.

Dr. Martin McCain (right) with other Boston Brass trombonists.

Dr. Martin McCain recently performed as guest bass trombonist with the Boston Brass and Brass All-Stars Stan Kenton Christmas show during the ensemble’s Texas tour on December 4th. He was also invited as guest 2nd trombone with the Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra in Honolulu for a week of concerts for the Nutcracker Ballet from December 9th through 15th. McCain performed a week as guest principal bass trombone with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra from November 21st through December 1st in addition to serving on the faculty for the PRIZM Ensemble Winter Festival December 20th through 23rd.

TXST Jazz Takes Over!

TXST Jazz Faculty in concert attire. From left to right: Doug Skinner, Dan Torosian, Hank Hehmsoth, Russell Scanlon, John Mills, and Utah Hamrick

Texas State Jazz Faculty performed “”Lush Life”-Music of Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn” with the Austin Symphony Orchestra on the 28th and 29th of December, 2019. Jazz Piano Professor Hank Hehmsoth played the role of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, with, left to right, Emeritus Sax Professor and past School Director Doug Skinner, TXST Masters graduate Dan Torosian, Hehmsoth, Emeritus Jazz Guitar Professor Russell Scanlon, Emeritus Sax Professor and past Jazz Area Coordinator John Mills, and current Jazz Bass Professor and Jazz Area Coordinator Utah Hamrick.

Rock Ensemble debuts

The School of Music’s new Rock Ensemble, directed by Dr. Jose M. Garza, Jr., performed Friday, December 6 at Tantra Coffee House in San Marcos. Members include: Evan Barnes (guitar), Jacob Bellemans (drums), Ethan Bruner (vocals), Roy Carpenter (bass), Alyx Cousins (vocals), Stephen Douglas (guitar), Aaron Dworaczyk (drums and guitar), Owen Morgan (bass), Lucas Munson (guitar and bass), Francis Nieves (vocals and guitar), Marco Orellana (drums and guitar), Aiden Potter (guitar), Jake Rabena (vocals), Benjamin Reynolds (drums), Armando Tomlinson (vocals), J. Refugio (“Cuco”) Valenzuela (electric and acoustic guitar), and Andrew Vineski (keyboard). 

Student saxophonists excel

Abel Jaimes won a saxophone position in the Young Adult Honors Wind Ensemble to perform at the Musikverein in Summer 2020. Vienna, Austria.

Lauren Gordon has been selected as the guest soloist with Sycamore Springs Middle School Band in Spring 2020.

Edgar Blandon was hired as a Music Mentor for Kids in A New Groove, providing Texas youth in foster care with a committed one-on-one    mentoring relationship through weekly private music instruction, giving students the ability to build concrete strategies for life-long success.

Chris Martinez is President of the Texas State Chapter of Collegiate Texas Music Educators Association.

Julio Gonzalez was a participant in Dr. Crystal Alexander-Duckett’s TXST guest presentation of The Benefits of Studying Martial Arts: A Musician’s Discovery of Tai Chi Chuan.

Professional soloist competition winner

Saxophone professor Todd Oxford won First Place in the Professional Soloist Category of the American Protégé International Woodwinds & Brass Competition, New York.

Oxford’s other recent activities of note include:            ▪ Nominee: International Acoustic Music Awards – Instrumental Division, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.        ▪ Hired by University Interscholastic League Music Division to perform the National Anthem at the Texas State Marching Competition. Alamodome, San Antonio.          ▪ Todd Oxford Discography acquired by National Library of Australia.            ▪ Featured Soloist at the National Association of College Wind and       Percussion Instructors National Conference. University of Northern Iowa.      Cedar Falls, Iowa. World Premiere of Richard D Hall’s Beneath the Dark Blue Waves”.      ▪ Guest Soloist at Hill College Performing Artists Series. Hillsboro, Texas.            ▪ Soloist at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania Visiting Artists Series.            ▪ Soloist with the Texas State Chamber Orchestra. Jacques Ibert’s Concertino da Camera.            ▪ Featured soloist November 19 on the School of Music’s Stars At Night Faculty Composers Showcase.