On Wednesday, the TJC Wind Ensemble will give its East Texas audience a preview of their upcoming performance at next week’s Texas Music Educators Association Convention in San Antonio.
The concert is set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 2, in the Rogers Palmer Performing Arts Center on the TJC main campus. Admission is free.
TJC is the first junior/community college group in the 102-year history of TMEA to be invited to perform a featured concert. TMEA is an annual convention of Texas elementary through college music programs, including band, choir, orchestra and elementary music. It is one of the largest such gatherings in the country and attracts some 10,000 active music educators and about 30,000 attendees from across the nation and around the world each year.
“This is a program of challenging and exciting literature, and we’re thrilled to share it with our TJC and East Texas friends before we take it to the stage in San Antonio next week,” TJC Director of Bands Jeremy Strickland said.
The TMEA performance is scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11, in the Lila Cockrell Theatre in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio.
Before making their way to the Alamo City, the group will embark on a performance tour of North and East Texas high schools, including:
• Melissa High School Fine Arts Facility
3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 6
• Lindale ISD Performing Arts Center
7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7
• Royse City ISD Performing Arts Center
7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8
The group has been hard at work with rehearsals for the past several months.
“This has been fun but also really intense,” said flute player Bree Williams, a sophomore music major from Mineola. “We’ve been working for this since before I got here in Spring 2019. We actually qualified to go in 2021; but then COVID happened, and Mr. Strickland got it pushed out a year, so we could play in person.”
Trumpet player Dominic Theriot, a sophomore music major from Forney, transferred to TJC from the University of North Texas last year.
“TJC has been a great fit for me,” he said. “Preparing for TMEA has been a lot of work, but there has been a lot of growth, for me personally and in how we have come together as a group. We’ve gotten really close through this experience, and it’s been great getting to know everyone and making music together.”
English horn and oboe player Linzy Manis, a sophomore nursing major from Carrollton, said, “I’ve actually earned the opportunity to go to TMEA twice before but hadn’t gotten to go — once in middle school but then changed schools and then the next time due to COVID — so I’m glad it’s finally happening.”
She continued, “I’m a little nervous, but we’ve practiced a lot and we’re ready. I’m looking forward to it.”
The 50-minute TMEA program will consist of six pieces, including three world premieres that have been commissioned especially for this performance.
Strickland will share conducting duties with Dr. Eddie Airheart, TJC assistant director of bands and professor of music and woodwinds.
He has also recruited his father, retired band director George Strickland, to conduct one of the pieces. He surprised his dad with the TMEA invitation by giftwrapping a black necktie and music score as his Christmas present.
“Giving Dad the opportunity to conduct on that stage with so many friends and colleagues in the audience is a dream come true,” he said. “He has been a director and a leader in the Texas band scene for more than 40 years, and I know this will be an exciting experience for all of us.”
He continued, “This will be an ambitious, entertaining concert designed to include a variety of genres in hopes that everyone will hear something they enjoy. We look forward to sharing the result of many months of hard work by these students.”