Blair School of Music junior Hiram Rodriguez was among the seven SEC student musicians who used the activities surrounding the 2018 SEC Football Championship Game in early December to showcase their jazz and improvisational music skills to thousands of SEC administrators, staff and fans as part of the third SEC Student Music Ensemble.
Under the direction of Michael Pendowski, assistant professor of saxophone and director of the Jazz Program at Auburn University, the group performed during the SEC Legends Dinner and the SEC Pregame Hospitality Party.
Rodriguez served as the ensemble’s trombonist. Other members of the group were Trent Briden, Auburn University, piano; Peter McCann, University of Florida, tenor saxophone; Jim Shaw, Auburn University, drums; Quentin Smith, University of Georgia, bass; David Vest, University of Kentucky, trumpet; and Neil Wegrzyn, University of Missouri, guitar.
These students were selected by their universities to participate in the unique ensemble, and they had two hours to rehearse before the first performance, which was during the SEC Legend’s Dinner reception.
The SEC Student Music Ensemble first performed during the 2015 SEC Symposium in Atlanta, and SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey asked that a group be invited to join in the festivities tied to the conference’s football championship game, also in Atlanta.
“The performing arts are an important component of the educational experience, and we are pleased to provide a showcase for these students and the SEC universities they represent,” Sankey said. “The SEC is uniquely positioned to feature these talented young people, and the student music ensemble is another example of our commitment to higher education.”