Gary Meggs, director of bands at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, brought a world-renowned musician to Monticello Monday. Mike Williams, the lead trumpeter for the Grammy-winning Count Basie Orchestra, performed with members of the UAM faculty jazz band and other accomplished musicians.
With the Count Basie Orchestra, Williams has recorded over 15 CDs, three of which were Grammy winners.
During a two-month Columbia Artists tour, Williams and the Basie band toured with Dizzy Gillespie and Billy Eckstine. He has performed in all 50 states and over 40 countries as well as performed for the King of Thailand, presidential inaugurations, and also in jazz festivals in several countries. He has also been broadcast in numerous live television and radio shows across the world.
But this week, Williams was in Monticello performing for high school band students attending UAM’s Jazz Band Camp. He and more than a dozen other accomplished musicians presented a special concert for campers. Performing with Williams were: Mike Copeland, Arkansas Jazz Orchestra; Steve Holley, of Denver, Colo., formerly of Monticello; Tim Mullenax, Crossett Middle School band director; Russell Roberts, Texarkana Jazz Orchestra and Frank Ferguson, a former Monticello High School band director.
Also performing were: Billy Hoover, of Jacksonville; Garry Henson, of Star City; Les Pack, UAM faculty; C.E. Askew, UAM faculty and Ron McCone. Others performing were Nathan Carman, Chris Sims and Josh Martin, all members of the UAM Jazz Band; Jeff Parker, choir director at Philander Smith College; Dick Eckstein, Texarkana Jazz Orchestra; Mark Windham, UAM faculty; Chris Lloyd, of Garland, Texas; John Webb, UAM faculty; and Gary Meggs.