Swinging Roadrunners, ACC Big Band Capping Year With Big Finale

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Gary Stallard
Sports Information Director Gary Stallard, who also serves as a Liberal Arts Instructor, begins his eleventh season with Angelina College. Following a career as a U.S. Marine, Stallard completed his bachelor’s degree at Stephen F. Austin University, where he majored in English and Journalism. For more than 16 years, he has worked as a sports writer/columnist/photographer for the Lufkin Daily News; he continues to contribute free-lance articles on occasion. Stallard has won several awards for writing, including the Golden Hoops Award for basketball writing in 2003, Regional Sports Writer of the Year in 2004, and the Texas Press Association’s first-place award for column writing in 2007 and in 2014. He has also done basketball, football and baseball radio and live streaming play-by- play and color commentary for an ESPN affiliate. Currently Stallard serves as play-by-play broadcaster for AC basketball, baseball and softball games. Prior to arriving at Angelina College, Stallard taught English at Lufkin High School for four years. He currently teaches Developmental Writing classes at AC. He and his wife Susan live in Lufkin.

Concert Pays Tribute to Legends and a Veteran

The final concert of the year is always a big one. It’s when young musicians who are moving on to the next stage of their careers get the opportunity to wail away with the talents they’ve accumulated in their time at Angelina College while jamming with some of the “old” guys who have shown them the ropes. AC’s Swinging Roadrunner Jazz Band and the ACC Big Band will pull out all the stops in a concert scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26 at the Hudgins Hall Auditorium.

The jazz combo will highlight music from legends such as Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter and Weather Report, while the ACC Big Band will pay tribute to Count Basie. The Big Band also will celebrate the life of Iraqi War veteran Specialist Keith Girardi-Pulley (March 18, 1986-April 26, 2011), a systems operator-analyst with the Army’s 86th Signal Battalion and the son of the Big Band’s own Bethe Girardi. Under the guidance of director Larry Greer, the young musicians will show off their considerable talents and versatility while resurrecting selections from contemporary music and jazz standards.

Angelina College concert bands, featuring the AC Chamber Ensemble and the Swinging Roadrunner Jazz Band, will perform tributes to Jazz Appreciation Month, Count Basie and Iraqi War veteran Specialist Keith Girardi-Pulley (March 18, 1986-April 26, 2011), the son of the Big Band’s own Bethe Girard at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26 in AC’s Hudgins Hall. (Gary Stallard)
Angelina College concert bands, featuring the AC Chamber Ensemble and the Swinging Roadrunner Jazz Band, will perform tributes to Jazz Appreciation Month, Count Basie and Iraqi War veteran Specialist Keith Girardi-Pulley (March 18, 1986-April 26, 2011), the son of the Big Band’s own Bethe Girard at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26 in AC’s Hudgins Hall. (Gary Stallard)

Greer, a music instructor for AC’s Fine Arts Division, assembles his unique blend of college musicians as each semester progresses, measuring their talents to see just where they fit into the Swinging Roadrunner Combo. He then showcases those talents in fall and spring concerts that have become one of the area’s most popular musical attractions. For Tuesday’s show, the bands will pay tribute to JAM (Jazz Appreciation Month), modelling the music of Miles Davis and the contemporary ‘70s jazz rock fusion group Weather Report. The jazz combo will be performing tunes arranged by Greer for a small group setting. The set list will include selections from the following list: “Milestones” (M. Davis); “So What” (M. Davis); “Blue and Green” (M. Davis); “Footprints” (W. Shorter); and “Birdland” (J. Zawinul).

Jazz combo performers include Max Vallejo (Lufkin), tenor sax; Jason Park (Nacogdoches), drum set; Stewart Haas (Hudson), guitar; Ethan Landrum (Hudson), bass and Larry Greer (Hudson), director and piano. Greer will also direct the ACC Big Band in its tributes to Basie and Specialist Girardi-Pulley. The scheduled program includes selections from the following: “Best of Basie” (arr. by J.Berry); “April in Paris” (arr. by B. Mintzer); “That Warm Feelilng” (arr. by S. Nestico); and “Moten Swing” (arr. by S. Nestico).

Performing members of the ACC Big Band include the following: Saxophones – Michael Parrish, Amanda Brown, Dixon Shanks, Carly Hood (alto), and Bethe Girardi (baritone). Trombones – Russell Hopkins (lead), Robert Shanks, Lavan Watts and Jimmy Battle (bass). Trumpets – Dwain Forsythe, Ricky Gay, Mel Miller and Steven Brown. Rhythm section – Eric Chinn (piano), J.D. Salas (bass), Mark Saldana (drum set) and Larry Greer (guitar).

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