Alternating between playful swing tunes and somber ballads, 12 College of the Mainland students displayed their talents and earned Outstanding Musician Awards at the Gulf Coast Intercollegiate Consortium Jazz Festival.

Three bands represented College of the Mainland at the event held at Brazosport College. All the musicians in the 7 O’Clock Jazz Combo, including Kim Chavez, Ben Hewett, Zach von Ruff and Bryan Chapman, and the Jazz Combo, including Travis Minter, Dorothy Karr, Al Cofrin and Robby Parker, earned awards. Jazz Ensemble musicians Charles Delgado, Dean Artall, Kendal McLaughlin and Mike Isgren also received the designation.  

“I was really pleased with their performances and happy to see many of them receive awards for all their hard work,” said ensemble and combo director Sparky Koerner.

Judges rated each student individually on his or her technical and artistic merit. Judges also commended the groups’ harmonization and performance, especially the Jazz Ensemble’s take on “Hunting Wabbits,” a playful piece inspired by Looney Tunes.
“The reward of performing comes whenever we sound good and an audience likes it,” said drummer Robby Parker. “The COM band includes entry-level players (my case) through professional-level performers. We learn by the example and guidance of the better musicians.”

The Jazz Ensemble and Combos regularly perform free concerts for the community.

The Gulf Coast Intercollegiate Consortium is comprised of 16 community colleges in the greater Houston area and provides students with an opportunity to learn and perform in a professional setting.