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December, 20, 2022
04:30 PM - 05:45 PM




College Jazz Ensemble


Conductor Thumb
Wes Parker

Performer Details

Performer Bio Synopsis

NC State University is a public land-grant research university in Raleigh, NC with significant focus on STEM disciplines. While NC State does not currently offer degrees in music, the Department of Music offers a strong music minor program consisting of general music studies, music performance, and arts entrepreneurship. A large percentage of the jazz program is composed of students majoring in engineering and various other STEM disciplines, with an average of 10-15 jazz students per semester studying in the performance minor. The NC State jazz program thrives by acknowledging the fact that many of these student-musicians are talented and experienced enough to pursue careers in music, but decided to choose a path toward another profession. The program provides solid foundational and rewarding experiences in jazz performance for these students, and they graduate with a profound understanding of the arts and an ability to perform jazz on a high level. The Department of Music offers a full range of performing ensembles, and the jazz program consists of two big bands and 4-5 combos in any given semester. Led by Dr. Wes Parker, Director of Jazz Studies, the program employs two part-time faculty to assist with coaching combos and teaching courses in jazz improvisation. The NC State Jazz Orchestra is the premier performing group in the program and has twice been invited to perform at the North Carolina Music Educators Association Conference in the last seven years. The NC State Jazz Combo is the top combo in the program and has performed throughout the state and, in 2019, released the group’s first full length studio album, Whistlin’. The album consists of nine original pieces composed, arranged, performed, and produced by the members of the group, under the direction of Dr. Parker and part-time jazz faculty member Jason Foureman. The NC State Jazz Combo recently completed recording its second album in May of 2022 with a release date set for the Fall 2022 semester. In the last 15 years the jazz program at NC State has grown to become one of the largest collegiate jazz programs in North Carolina, and has featured many guest artists such as Bobby Shew, Jeff Coffin, Jiggs Whigham, Chris Vadala, and Wayne Bergeron, just to name a few. While some students in the NC State jazz program go on to careers in music, many others continue playing in their communities as they work in other professions. They all leave NC State equipped to enthusiastically support and participate in the arts throughout their lives in intelligent and informed ways.

NC State Jazz Orchestra

Conductor's Bio

Dr. Wes Parker has served as the Director of Jazz Studies at North Carolina State University since 2006. He directs the jazz ensembles, coaches jazz combos, and teaches jazz history and jazz improvisation. Dr. Parker holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Tennessee Tech University, a Master of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Trombone Performance and Pedagogy from The University of Southern Mississippi. Parker’s trombone playing has been heard in jazz ensembles and orchestras throughout the United States. As an active freelance musician, Parker has performed with such artists as Branford Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis, Michael Feinstein, Josh Groban, Aretha Franklin, Idina Menzel, Regis Philbin, Placido Domingo, the Jimmy Dorsey and Glenn Miller Orchestras, the Temptations, and the Pointer Sisters. Under Parker’s direction, the Jazz Program at NC State has grown to offer six jazz ensembles and performed twice at the annual NCMEA conference. His groups have been host to such notable jazz musicians as Wayne Bergeron, Jeff Coffin, Harry Watters, Chris Vadala, Bryan Carter, Jiggs Whigham, Marcus Roberts, and Bobby Shew. An active clinician, Dr. Parker has worked with middle school, high school, and collegiate jazz ensembles, as well as numerous marching bands throughout the Southeast. He has served as the director of All-State and All-District honor bands in Mississippi, North Carolina, and Alabama. Prior to his appointment at NC State, he served as an interim professor of trombone at The University of Southern Mississippi, and spent time teaching public school in Mississippi and Oklahoma.