Pi Kappa Phi alumnus to conduct, perform with Lake Charles Community Band

The Lake Charles Community Band is preparing for its annual ‘Catch-A-Concert series and the ensemble will feature the talents of a graduate of Northwestern State University.

Leo Murray, an alumnus of the Beta Omicron Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity at NSU, serves as a percussionist and assistant conductor of the all-volunteer group.

The free concerts, held every Monday in June from 7-8 p.m., will take place on the 2nd floor Mezzanine inside the Lake Charles Civic Center. This year’s theme for the summer series will be “Remembrance: Jukebox Memories.”

The June 4 concert will feature hits from the Swing Era of the 1930’s and 40’s by the legendary Glenn Miller. A medley of Frank Sinatra, “Old Blue Eyes”, will feature favorites such as Mack the Knife, My Way, and the Theme from New York, New York. Other arrangements will include Herb Albert and Tijuana Brass, Stevie Wonder, a Tribute to Marvin Hamlisch, and Barnum and Bailey’s Favorites.

On June 11 listen to The Beach Boys Greatest Hits, The Symphonic Beatles, Eric Clapton, and selections from “Saturday Night Fever”. A Louis Armstrong medley will feature trumpet soloist, Glenn George. Vocal soloist, Alan Van Meter and flugelhorn soloist, Brenda Harrington will perform “The Girl from Ipanema,” the Grammy-winning Record of the Year from 1965.

On June 18 get whisked away to the magic with The Music of Disneyland. Selections also include rock & pop legends Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Santana and Queen. The band will honor educators this week with the music of Artie Shaw featuring clarinet soloist, Don Braven. The concert will also feature three-time Grammy finalist, Mickey Smith Jr. on sax and Eugenia Smith on vocals.

The June 25 concert will give you a preview of patriotic music with the accompaniment of members of the Louisiana Choral Foundation as we approach Independence Day. There will be selections from “Les Miserable”, The Mamas & Papas, and Chick Corea.

The Catch-A-Concert series leads up to the patriotic program during the Red White Blue & You Fourth of July Festival, which honors the men and woman of our Armed forces who bore the hardships of global wars. The audience is invited to song along with the band and members of the Louisiana Choral Foundation.

The Lake Charles Community Band is made up of band directors, teachers, retirees, housewives, craftsmen, professionals, and students.

Murray is a retired band director in the Louisiana public school system. He earned a bachelor of music education degree from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches and a master of music education from McNeese State University.

After completing his studies, he began his teaching career at Oberlin High, then served Director of Bands at Moss Bluff Middle School from 1978 until 2006. Throughout his tenure at Moss Bluff Middle, the school has boasted one of the largest and most honored bands in the state, consistently earning superior ratings at both district and state festivals.

He later served as band director at DeRidder Junior High and DeRidder High School in Beauregard Parish.

Murray himself has received numerous honors including twice selected as Louisiana Band Director of the Year by the Louisiana Bandmaster Association and selection to the prestigious Phi Beta Mu Honorary Fraternity of Band Directors, being twice selected as the fraternity’s Outstanding Band Director for Louisiana.

Murray has also been an active member of his profession, serving as judge, clinician, and director throughout the state for various festivals, contests, clinics, and honor groups; founding and chairing the Louisiana All-Star Middle School Honor Band; and performing with the Lake Charles Symphony and the Lake Charles Community Band.

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