Tyler Junior College


Band Faculty

Thomas McGowan

Office Location: HPE 163 (Band Hall)
Office Phone Number: (903) 510-2375
Email Address: tmcg@tjc.edu
Title: Associate Director of Bands, Professor of Percussion

Thomas McGowan joined the Tyler Junior College music faculty in the fall of 2001. Mr. McGowan directs the Tyler Junior College Percussion Ensemble, Apache Punch Drumline, TJC Indoor Percussion Theater, and serves as instructor for applied percussion.

Mr. McGowan received his M.A. and B.M. in music performance from Eastern Illinois University, where he studied percussion under Johnny Lee Lane. His teachers have also included David Courtney, Genero Gonzalez, and Brian Callahan. Before joining the faculty at Tyler Junior College, he served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in percussion studies at Millikin University, Decatur, IL, and staff instructor for the University of Illinois Marching Illini Drumline, Champaign, IL. While in Decatur, Mr. McGowan also served as Band Director for St. Teresa High School. From 1992 through 1999, Mr. McGowan served as Director of Percussion at The Woodlands High School, The Woodlands, Texas.

Mr. McGowan stays active year round as a percussion performer and clinician. He held the position of section percussionist with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra in both the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 seasons. His performance credits also include the Illinois Chamber Orchestra, Millikin/Decatur Symphony Orchestra. The Woodlands Symphony, Lafayette Symphony Orchestra (Lafayette, Indiana), Danville Symphony (Danville, Illinois), U.T. Tyler/Tyler Jr. College Community Wind Ensemble, and the Mid-Texas Symphony Orchestra.

Heather Mensch

Office Location: HPE-161 (Band Hall)
Office Phone Number: (903) 510-3195
Email Address: hmen2@tjc.edu
Title: Professor of Jazz Studies and Low Brass

Heather Mensch is Professor of Jazz Studies and Applied Low Brass, including bass trombone, euphonium, and tuba at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas. Prior to her appointment at TJC, Mrs. Mensch worked as Assistant Director of Bands at Moore MST Magnet School in Tyler, Texas for three years, Assistant Director of Bands at Chapel Hill Middle School in Tyler, Texas, for one year, and Assistant Choir and Band Director at Mirabeau B. Lamar High School in Houston, Texas, for three years.

Mrs. Mensch’s teaching responsibilities at TJC include directing both TJC Jazz Ensembles, the Jazz Combo, and assisting with the Apache Marching Band and Symphonic Band. She also teaches music appreciation, ear training, and music literature courses in any given semester. Under her direction, the TJC Jazz Program enjoys a full slate of performances each semester, including a wide variety of campus and community events. Every spring, she hosts the Tyler Junior College Jazz Festival, which provides an opportunity for East Texas middle and high school students to perform with and be critiqued by guest artists who are among the top jazz artists in the country. The Tyler Junior College Jazz Ensemble 1 has also produced three different CD recordings over the past several years, served as the pit orchestra for the TJC Musical-Chicago, and traveled to New York City to perform at the Lincoln Center.

Mrs. Mensch actively performs throughout the East Texas area, manages the Rose City Brass Quintet, and is bass trombonist with the Souled Out Jazz Orchestra and Green Acres Baptist Church Orchestra. She and her husband, Tom, also tour internationally each year with the Metro Big Band, a professional level Christian jazz ensemble. Heather Mensch’s orchestral experience includes performances with the Longview Symphony, Shreveport Symphony, the Orchestra of the Pines in Nacogdoches, and the North East Texas Symphony in Sulphur Springs. Her jazz experiences include performances with Vince DiMartino, Randy Brecker, Miles Osland, John Fedchock, Mike Vax, Lou Marini, Joey Tartell, Mark Mullins, Bobby Shew, and Brad Leali.

She is currently the treasurer for the Texas Jazz Educators Association and has served as the All-State Jazz Coordinator for the Texas Community College Band Directors Association. Mrs. Mensch is also an active clinician for jazz ensembles throughout the East Texas area, ans served as the All-Region Jazz Ensemble Clinician and Conductor for various groups in TMEA Regions, 3, 4, and 21, as well as conducting the Four States Honor Jazz Ensemble.

In 2006, Heather Mensch was chosen to select and perform the Texas 5A Bass Trombone All-State etudes at the Texas Bandmasters Association Conference. In September of 2008, she was selected as one of four finalists in a nationwide search for the US Army Jazz Ambassadors Bass Trombone position. She and her husband, Tom were jointly honored by the Tyler Junior College Alumni Association as the 2009 recipients of the “Apache Spirit” award. Mrs. Mensch was recently nominated by one of her peers for The TJC Endowed Chair for Teaching Excellence program, and after an intense application process, was awarded The George W. Pirtle and El Freda Taylor Pirtle Endowed Chair for Teaching Excellence for the 2013-2014 school years.

Mrs. Mensch holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Bass Trombone Performance from the University of Kentucky and a Master of Education degree from Houston Baptist University. She is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Bandmasters Association, Texas Jazz Educators Association, the Jazz Educators Network, the International Trombone Association, and the International Tuba Euphonium Association.

Thomas Mensch

Office Location: HPE-159 (Band Hall)
Office Phone Number: (903) 510-2242
Email Address: tmen@tjc.edu
Title: Directors of Bands, Professor of Trombone

Tom MenschOriginally from Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, Tom Mensch is the Director of Bands and Instructor of Trombone at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas. During his tenure, he has been the steward over the band programs tremendous growth as it has become one of the largest junior college band programs in the country with over 200 students enrolled, performing in over eleven different ensembles. Before his appointment to T.J.C., Mr. Mensch served as director of bands at Robert E. Lee High School in Tyler, Texas for one year and associate for three years and as Director of Bands at Mirabeau B. Lamar High School in Houston, Texas for three years.

Mr. Mensch’s teaching responsibilities includes, coordinating and rehearsing the Tyler Junior College Apache Marching Band, conducting the Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Trombone Ensemble and teaching applied trombone lessons. Mr. Mensch has conducted numerous low brass and band clinics throughout North East Texas and has been the clinician for several TMEA Region 4 and 21 concert bands as well as the Four States Honor Concert Band.

Mr. Mensch was honored by the Tyler Junior College Student Senate with the Richard M. ‘Rick’ Diamond, II Excellence in Education award and, He and his wife Heather were honored by the Tyler Junior College Alumni Association with the Apache Spirit Award. Most recently, he was honored by the Tyler Youth Orchestra and inducted into the Noted Circle, and was also inducted into Phi Beta Mu, the International Bandmasters Fraternity.

Mr. Mensch is an active performer on tenor trombone with the Rose City Brass Quintet, The Rose City Trombone Quartet, Lead Trombone with the Souled Out Jazz Orchestra and the East Texas Jazz Orchestra, is 2nd Trombonist with the Longview Symphony, is a freelance musician throughout the East Texas Area, and maintains a teaching studio of talented collegiate and high school trombone students. He was a featured soloist with the Stephen F. Austin State University Trombone Choir, the Stephen F. Austin State University Symphony Orchestra after being selected as a winner in the School of Music’s Concerto Competition, the East Texas Symphonic Band and with 1A State Honor Band, Carlisle High School.

Mr. Mensch has been a guest artist and conductor at the Annual Trombone Day at Southern Mississippi State University. As a member of the Metro Big Band, he has performed in Japan, Guatemala, Russia, Ukraine, Scotland, Brazil, and Finland. He has performed with the The Orchestra of the Pines, the Shreveport Symphony, the South Arkansas Symphony, the Altoona Symphony, the Nittany Valley Symphony, Trombones @ Houston, the Tyler Big Band and the Fred Shannon Smith Big Band.

Mr. Mensch earned his Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the Pennsylvania State University in 1996 where he studied trombone with Mark Lusk and earned his Masters Degree in Trombone Performance from Stephen F. Austin State University where he was a student of Dr. Debra Scott and studied conducting with Mr. Fred J. Allen. He has also studied trombone with O. Richard Bundy, Tom Riccobono, Dr. Bruce Tychinski, and Richard Brady.

Tom is a member of The Texas Music Educators Association, International Trombone Association, College Band Directors National Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, Phi Beta Mu, Phi Mu Alpha, and Green Acres Baptist Church. He is an artist for Jupiter XO instruments. Tom Mensch is happily married to his wife Heather who is a professional bass trombonist herself, and they have a dog-named Zoe.

Steven Meier, DMA

Office Location: HPE-168 (Band Hall)
Office Phone Number: (903) 510-3876
Email Address: smei@tjc.edu
Title: Professor, Woodwinds and Band

Steven Meier is a multi-woodwind artist presently teaching at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas.

Dr. Meier has performed with Barry Manilow, Kristen Chenowith, Barnum and Bailey, Ringling Brothers Circus, The Phoenix Orchestra, and many others.

Dr. Meier has taught at the University of Oregon, The University of Alabama, and was director of jazz studies at Northern State University in Aberdeen South Dakota. His research includes investigation of the jazz saxophonist Edward “ Sonny” Stitt.

He holds degrees from Minot State College (BA), The University of North Texas (MM), and the University of Alabama (DMA).

Music Contact Information

C. Jeanie Oxler
Department Chair
Office: WCA-1A

Email: coxl@tjc.edu

Telephone: 903-510-2202

Advising contact: 903-510-2425