Dunham musician Eric Ponder ’19 will take his place as first chair trombone when the East Baton Rouge All Parish Jazz Band performs in concert on Wednesday, February 13 at 7 p in the Manship Theatre in the Shaw Center for the Arts. Students who auditioned and are selected for this honors jazz band are among the best high school musicians in the Greater Baton Rouge area.
“It is a great honor to be selected as first chair. The Baton Rouge area is filled with many excellent musicians, so being selected as first in my craft is quite special,” said Ponder. He also auditioned for the band his sophomore and junior years and was chosen as second chair both times. This is his eleventh honor band selection overall.
“I enjoy the satisfaction of working hard at a piece (or a small section of a piece) and being able to play it consistently, especially if it is something that looked very difficult when I first saw it,” he said. “I’ve learned that when I work really hard at something with concentrated and focused effort, I can achieve anything.”
Ponder, has played the trombone for four years. A member of the Dunham Jazz Ensemble and the Pep band, he also plays baritone horn and tuba, and is now learning guitar.
“I love when the whole band gets in sync and we play the music perfectly. It is the culmination of lost of not so perfect rehearsals, and really something special,” he added.
Ponder, who plans to study mechanical engineering at LSU or Rice University, observes a positive correlation between being a jazz musician and his academic success. “Being a jazz musician has definitely improved my studies because the work ethic that I use in band transfers over into my classwork. The more I have evolved as a musician, the easier it has become to work hard in the classroom.”
Should Ponder choose LSU, watch for him and his trombone on the field next year as a member of “The Golden Band from Tiger Land.”