Bowl game's halftime performance to be directed by UT Martin's Jones
Posted: Wednesday, December 30, 2009 9:46 am
The Messenger 12.30.09
Dr. Nola Jones considers herself fortunate to have had many memorable opportunities as a band director. She’ll add another one when she directs the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Marching Band.
The band is slated to perform during halftime of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio on Jan. 9.
“I am very excited and humbled by the appointment,” said Jones, University of Tennessee at Martin director of bands. “The U.S. Army and Music Educators National Conference have deemed the ensemble worthy of their effort and support. The confidence they have placed in me by asking me to serve as director ... is a tremendous honor and responsibility.”
Band members come from 32 states, were involved in one of 90 Army tour stops for competitive presentations and have a collective grade-point average of 3.74.
Preparations for the January 2010 presentation got under way even before the 2009 band had its first rehearsal.
“When I served on the staff of the 2009 band, I knew I would be the director of the 2010 USAAMB. I took copious notes during bowl week in order to prepare,” Jones said. “This past summer at Ft. Meade in Washington, D.C., I attended a meeting with U.S. Army Field Band Colonel Thomas Palmatier and his staff. We’ve held numerous design meetings to plan the show and have assembled a staff of outstanding professionals in the music field to instruct the band. It has been a monumental task.”
Large audiences are not new to Jones. When she taught at McGavock High School in Nashville, the band performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
However, the bowl game will have the largest indoor audience, as the San Antonio Dome will be filled to capacity on game day.
“A large percentage of the audience will be military personnel and their families, so performing for them will be a great honor for all of us,” she added.
While the January event is a career highlight, Jones has conducted the U.S. Army Field Band, has conducted at the Singapore American School Music Festival and has judged in Japan and Amsterdam.
Both of her parents were also band directors.
“... My mom says my first memory has to be of hearing band music. They positively impacted their students’ lives and the communities where they lived through music,” she said. “Mom really didn’t consider herself to be a woman in a field that was predominately populated by men. She just believed in the value of music education as a means of enhancing her students’ lives and providing them with life skills.”
Her parents will not be able to travel to San Antonio, but will watch it streamed on the Web.
Jones thinks creating music makes people more tolerant, more loving, more human and enhances lives as a result.
“Marching band helps us develop team building skills, responsibility to others and problem solving through pursuit of collective excellence. Students who come to college need a ‘place to belong’ and a creative outlet outside of their academic rigors,” she said.
She said by serving as ambassadors of the university, the UT Martin band enhances the lives of others through music, assists in recruiting and promotes alumni relations, while enjoying performing for enthusiastic audiences everywhere.
Jones, who holds bachelor and master’s degrees in music from Mississippi State University and Mississippi College, respectively, and a doctorate from University of South Carolina, joined UT Martin in 2006. She thinks the best part about her position at UT Martin is the potential.
“Our students are bright and curious. Our faculty members are scholarly and committed. Our administration is visionary and supportive. Our legacy can be whatever we want it to be and are willing to collectively create,” she said. “Once in a music periodical I read, ‘you pick the gig,’ and it resonated with me. I get paid to do what I love every day. How many people can say that? I am happy that I feel obligated to be enthusiastic.”
2010 U.S. Army All-American Marching Band, Dr. Nola Jones, U.S. Army All-American Bowl, University of Tennessee at Martin