NSU jazz director Poole leads River City Players band

(Tahlequah, OK)--Playing music and teaching students at Northeastern State University are the passions of River City Players’ band leader Dr. Thomas Poole.

This is Poole's first year in Tahlequah and his first tour with the Players. Poole, director of NSU's jazz studies, plays saxophone and flute for the summer shows. He leads the band, of which some members are his students.

Poole said River City Players is a valuable experience for students with a future in music.

“I want them to get out into the world and succeed,” Poole said. “River City Players is a professional gig. The speed of learning must be quicker and the retention must be consistent.”

Poole was the musical director for Princess Cruises and has almost a decade of experience arranging shows similar to River City Players. The arrangement of the band must be clear and correctly notated. This job is time-consuming but saves stress during rehearsals. Poole enjoys the entire process of helping the band work together and sound better.

“All this being said, the best arrangement in the world would not work if the musicians are not up to it,” Poole said. “I am happy to say that these musicians are more than capable.”

Poole is also joined by veteran band member Farren Mayfield, who is in his third year with the Players. He said he enjoys performing with other musicians and learning different musical styles. Mayfield plays guitar and enjoys the laid-back atmosphere brought to rehearsals.

“There is never a shortage of laughter in rehearsals and before shows, it helps lighten the mood,” Mayfield said. “Everyone in the band has enough technical prowess on their respective instrument to put the music together quickly, so that gives us time to joke a little bit.”

Daniel Thompson is also in his third season and plays keyboard and electric bass. Thompson’s experience with the shows allow him to share his level of adaptability with new band memebers.

“I enjoy playing the River City Players shows," Thompson said. "It gives me a summer job and I get a paying gig in Tahlequah.”

Whether new members or seasoned veterans of the River City Players band, the musical talent is a treat and citizens and visitors in Tahlequah are invited to hear for themselves at any of the shows.

River City Players can be seen through August 7 at the Shawnee Street Theater located on the northwest corner of College Avenue and Downing Street. Their productions of Hollywood Hits can be seen Thursday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Oldies But Goodies can be seen Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.

If country music is more your style, then check out Downtown Country through August 7 at the University Playhouse located on the northeast corner of Muskogee Avenue and Downing Street. Their productions of Destination Country can be seen Thursday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and If This Ol’ Dock Could Talk can be seen Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.

Ticket prices are adults $12, NSU alumni and employees $10, seniors 60-over and groups of 12 or more $8, children and NSU students $6. For tickets or reservations call (918) 458-2075.

The Stars in the Summer Series is made possible by NSU’s College of Liberal Arts and sponsored by the Tahlequah Area Tourism Council. 

Published: 7/8/2010 10:37:09 AM

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