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Volume 24, Number 3 — March 2017

Local jazz musician "plays" ESPN Monday Night Football

Milligan College music professor Rick Simerly joined other musicians to record background music for a recent ESPN football show.
Milligan College music professor Rick Simerly joined other musicians to record background music for a recent ESPN football show.

September 23, 2007

MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. — When the Tennessee Titans took on the New Orleans Saints, "ESPN Monday Night Football" fans will get a taste of jazz with a local flavor. Milligan College Associate Professor of Music Rick Simerly teamed up with several Charlotte, N.C. jazz musicians to record background music that aired Monday, Sept. 24, as part of the popular ESPN football show.

"This summer I was involved in a recording project for ESPN, which is owned by Disney," explained Simerly. "We did twelve 90-second spots of New Orleans Jazz, which ranged from traditional Dixieland to funky Dr. John/Fats Domino type tunes. It is to be broadcast during the Saints/Titans game and possibly on some future Saints games."

Simerly, an East Tennessee native, joined Milligan's faculty in 2001 after two decades in music education in the public schools. In addition to serving as band director at T.A. Dugger Junior High School in Elizabethton, Tenn., since 1979, Simerly has carved out a niche for himself in the professional world of music. He has been called "one of the most exciting and consistently creative trombonists in jazz today" by world-renown jazz educator and composer David Baker.

Simerly has not only played in the bands of Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman, Nelson Riddle and Bob Crosby, but also has performed with jazz greats Billy Taylor, James Moody, Rufus Reid, Jon Faddis, Bobby Shew, Milt Hinton and many others. He has toured with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and performed with such entertainers as Frank Sinatra, Jr., Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Lou Rawls, Gladys Knight, The Temptations and The Four Tops.

Simerly teaches a variety of music courses at Milligan and leads a jazz studies emphasis in the music area. He holds a master of arts degree from East Tennessee State University.

A! ExtraTopics: Music