Feb 10, 2017 - Nick Pitre returns to All State Jazz Ensemble

When the Oklahoma All State Jazz Ensemble held its concert on January 23, Wagoner Band senior Nick Pitre was among those performing on stage.

Pitre has been involved with the Wagoner Band program since the 6th grade. He started as a percussionist and picked up the bass on the side in the 8th grade.

Pitre is a two-time All State Jazz Ensemble honoree, selected as the lone bass player in the group. He has been selected twice for the Mid-East Oklahoma Band Director’s Association Honor Band, the Oklahoma Bandmasters Association-Oklahoma Jazz Educators Honor Jazz Band and the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame’s Tulsa Jam’Bassadors Youth Jazz Ensemble, and once for the MEOBDA Jazz Band.

The Jam’Bassadors is also a two-time finalist for the Charles Mingus Jazz Festival in New York City.

The All State bass player is a member of the Wagoner Jazz Combo that earned a state championship title in 2016.

In addition to his work with the Wagoner band program, Pitre also performs with the praise band at First United Methodist Church.

What are his thoughts on being selected for All State recognition?

“It’s exciting!” Pitre exclaimed. “Last year, when I got All State, I met all the young musicians who are playing in our area and it opened up a new area for me. I met friends in Tulsa who go gig, play and make money in Tulsa.”

He admits he is critical of himself, and remained humble going into this year’s auditions.

“You can’t get cocky, because there will always be someone there to be a challenge to you,” Pitre said. “It was a big deal last year to work toward All State. This year, it was cool to defend my spot because they only take one. Last year, 17 bass players tried out for the spot and this year, there were 12.”

“It’s cut throat where everyone wants to get it, but there’s community with it as we are a lot of likeminded thinkers. I really like that part of it,” he added.

Wagoner Jazz Band Director Dave Smith had high praise for the All State honoree.

“We are very proud of Nick’s talent and hard work. The OMEA Jazz Ensemble is a 20-member ensemble made up of the finest players our state has to offer,” Smith said. “Nick topped all of the string bass players by a large margin. He is being heavily recruited by the University of Central Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, Northeastern State University and Tulsa University.”

At the All State Convention, Pitre studied with world renowned trombonist John Fedchock, the first call trombonist in New York City.

He will also be the bassist for the Oklahoma Choral Directors Association convention’s Vocal Jazz Quartet.

Smith said the All State musician organizes the Wagoner jazz combo that will compete at contests and hopefully play gigs in the area.

“Nick has a very, very bright future in the music industry and could play for many professional groups right now,” the director said. “He is a great example of many of the fantastic accomplishments going on in our district.”

Pitre is the son of Clint and Tresa Pitre of Wagoner.


By CHRISTY WHEELAND Tulsa World News Editor