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Sparky Koerner

Jazz Educator / Musician

About Me

Sparky Koerner, professor of music, has been director of Jazz and Instrumental Studies at College of the Mainland located in Texas City, TX since 1983. Mr. Koerner was recognized as College of the Mainland’s Piper Professor Nominee in 2001 and named Outstanding Teacher for 2001 at COM. He is currently Chairman for the Fine Arts Department at COM. His jazz ensembles and combos have won 1st place honors at various jazz festivals through out the state of Texas. The Jazz Ensemble performed at the Jazz Educators Network Conference in Atlanta, GA in January of 2013 and in St. Louis, MO in May 2010. The College of the Mainland Jazz Combo performed at the North Texas Jazz Festival in Addison, TX in 2009. The College of the Mainland Jazz Ensemble served as backup to Doc Severinsen and Diane Schurr at the Galveston Island Jazz Festival. Other guest artist who have performed with his groups include: Marvin Stamm, Bobby Watson, Tom “Bones” Malone, Rich Matteson, Kim Richmond, Clay Jenkins, Bruce Foreman, Mike Steinel, Tony Campise, Ron Wilkins, Kathy Kosins, and Bill Mays to name a few. Sparky is the Past-President of the Texas Jazz Educators Association and served as the Texas Music Educators Association High School All State Jazz Ensemble Audition Chairman for 15 years. He received the 2003 IAJE Education Department Outstanding Service Award for the work he did with the IAJE Community College All Star Jazz Ensemble. He is a Past-President for the International Association of Jazz Educators Texas Unit. During the 1996 IAJE Conference in Atlanta, GA. he directed the IAJE All Star Community College Jazz Ensemble. Sparky has served as organizer for the Texas Community College All State Jazz Ensemble, as well as organizer of the Gulf Coast Intercollegiate Conference Jazz Festival. He served on the IAJE Resource Team for Community Colleges for 18 years. Sparky served as the Executive Director of the Galveston Island Jazz Festival from 1991-1994. He is a member of the American Federation of Musicians Local 74. Sparky is a trumpeter and leader of the “Jazz Express” www.sparkysjazzexpress.com performing in the Galveston/Houston Texas area. He is also a member of the group “Jazz Sunday” which performs at various churches in the area. When not performing or directing jazz you can find him in the principal trumpet chair of the Galveston Symphony Orchestra and he has performed in the pit orchestras during the summers at the Galveston Island Outdoor Musicals or College of the Mainland’s Biggest Li’l Theatre in Texas. Mr. Koerner received his degrees from Louisiana State University (B.M.) and the University of North Texas (M.M.E.). While at UNT he received the 1:00 O’Clock award for his contributions to the Lab Band program. He was also named in Who’s Who Among Students at the University of North Texas, and Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities. His trumpet teachers have included George Foss, Leonard Candelaria, John J. Haynie and Don “Jake” Jacoby. Sparky was recently named in Who’s Who Among American Teacher.

My Jazz Story

I love jazz because when performing I am able to express myself through the art of improvisation. I was first exposed to jazz by my father's big band record collection. The best show I ever attended, well I have attended many, Newport Jazz Festival, IAJE Conferences, JEN Conferences all with great jazz musicians from around the world. My advice to new listeners have an open mind when listening but do take time to try to understand the basics of listening to jazz, such as the form of a tune and melodies to help you understand the improvisation. I am thankful for all the jazz resources now available to me via the internet.