OC music students, faculty honored in Tulsa Thursday

The OC Chorale (left) and Jazz Ensemble
The OC Chorale (left) and Jazz Ensemble

OC’s music students and faculty will be recognized as some of the best in the state again Thursday evening in Tulsa.

OC’s Chorale, led by music professor Kyle Pullen, will perform at the Oklahoma Music Educators Association Conference at 7 p.m. at the Holy Family Cathedral in downtown Tulsa. At 8:45 p.m., OC’s Jazz Ensemble will perform as part of the OMEA event just a few blocks away at the Doubletree Hotel.

“Being chosen to perform at the state convention is quite an honor,” said Kathy Thompson, OC’s department chair and professor of music. “We are excited that our students will share their talents in these honor performances.” 

OC’s Chorale, which includes more than 65 singers, has been performing and touring since 1950. OMEA is the state affiliate of MENC: The National Affiliation for Music Education, which is among the world’s largest arts education organizations.

OC’s music department will receive yet another honor in Tulsa as Heath Jones will be recognized as Oklahoma’s Jazz Educator of the Year for the second time in four years. Jones, a professor of music, directs OC’s Jazz Ensemble.

“I am especially proud of Heath for being recognized for his excellent work, as well as helping make OC’s music program more visible in the state,” Thompson said.

Jones will receive his honor from the Oklahoma Jazz Educators, a chapter of the International Association of Jazz Educators. OJE, which is meeting during the OMEA convention, exists to promote awareness of jazz and encourages the academic exploration of jazz in schools.

Just last weekend, Jones directed the Jazz Ensemble in its performance at the Jazz Educators Conference in Dallas. He also teaches applied saxophone, music education, music technology and jazz improvisation at Oklahoma Christian.

An accomplished musician, he has performed with The Temptations, The Four Tops, Leslie Gore, Jim Neighbors, Natalie Cole, and other road show artists. Jones also performs with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Lyric Theatre and the Pollard Theatre.  He serves as a Cannonball Saxophone Artist and has given master classes, lectures, and recitals in China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.