Dr. Tommy Poole, director of jazz studies at Northeastern State University, was named the 2009-10 Oklahoma Collegiate Jazz Educator of the Year at the annual meeting of Oklahoma Jazz Educators on July 21 in Tulsa.
Poole also was chosen to be the guest clinician for the Oklahoma Bandmasters Association All-Star Jazz Band. The band, consisting of the state's best high school jazz students, will perform under the direction of Poole at the 2011 OBA convention.
"I've only been at NSU for a year, so I was surprised and deeply honored to have even been nominated, let alone selected," said Poole. "I attended simply to show my support for OKJE and to meet up with my recent friends in the Oklahoma jazz education community."
Poole believes his interaction with secondary school jazz programs helped him win the honor since most OKJE members teach at high schools. He has served as a guest clinician at several festivals where he often works with high school players and their instructors.
"At these master classes and competitions, I might get to work with the kids for as long as 45 minutes or only 10," he said. "I might score for competitions or write comments on their performances, but I always prefer to work face to face with the students. I want them and their directors to know that I appreciate what they are creating. I think directors are encouraged by my eagerness to get out and help them make their jazz rehearsals more efficient and effective.
"It's not a one-way learning experience. I learn from the directors and students as well."
As guest clinician for the OBA All-Star Jazz Band, Poole will have only a short time to prepare for the concert.
"I get to work with them for a couple of days," he said. "But I look forward to working with the cream of the crop of Oklahoma's high school jazz students."
Another motivation drives Poole to connect with high school jazz programs: He wants music students to attend NSU.
"I think it is my simple aggressiveness in going off-campus to work with high school students and their directors that helped me win this award," he said. "This honor is good for NSU, because it can be very positive in terms of recruitment. These high school educators know about us and when they have a student looking to study jazz in college, this puts us at or near the tops of their lists."
A member of the Jazz Education Network and the College Music Society, Poole has performed or recorded with Rosemary Clooney, Jack Jones, Eartha Kitt, Anthony Newley, Marilyn McCoo, Red Buttons, Maynard Ferguson, The Woody Herman Orchestra under the direction of Frank Tiberi, Vikki Carr, Diane Schuur, Maureen McGovern, Nell Carter, Boots Randolph, Joe Williams, Mercer Ellington and Dianne Reeves. His recent appearances include headlining at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame and Ciao Primo Room, both in Tulsa. He will again appear at the Ciao Primo Room on Aug. 22.
Published: 8/2/2010 9:50:28 AM