December 8, 2016

SEC Students Add New Sound to Football Championship Weekend

The SEC student music ensemble performs at the reception prior to the annual SEC Legends Dinner.
The SEC student music ensemble performs at the reception prior to the annual SEC Legends Dinner.

By: Bryant Welbourne
SECU (Twitter: @TheSECU)

Six SEC student musicians comprised a jazz ensemble that performed at two events during the SEC Football Championship weekend to showcase the strength of the performing arts at Southeastern Conference universities.

“It was a great honor and privilege to be chosen as a member of the first SEC student music ensemble,” said Jonathan Watts, a student musician from Mississippi State University who played tenor saxophone. “We truly had an all-star group.”

The SEC student jazz musicians played Friday night during the reception prior to the annual SEC Legends Dinner and also provided entertainment during dinner. The ensemble was recognized by SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey and received a rousing ovation from guests.

“It means a lot to know that the SEC has appreciation for its students and their respective disciplines,” said Wesley Sumpter from the University of Georgia. Sumpter played drums in the ensemble.

The SEC student music ensemble also played Saturday at the SEC Pregame Hospitality Party. Following their performance, the group watched the final SEC Football Championship played in the Georgia Dome where they were recognized during the fourth quarter.

“One of the highlights of the weekend was being recognized at both the SEC Legends Dinner and the 25th SEC Football Championship game,” said Watts.

Joining Watts and Sumpter in the ensemble were Grant D’Aubin from the University of Arkansas, Ben Grier from the University of Florida, Anice Nemati-Baghestani from the University of Missouri and David Rogers from Vanderbilt University. Scott Wilson, Associate Professor of Jazz at the University of Florida, was the ensemble director.

“The SEC student music ensemble was an amazing opportunity to artistically connect with our SEC universities, instructors and musicians,” said Wilson. “The support of the SEC was truly innovative and we were thrilled to be part of the SEC Football Championship weekend.”