UCO Jazz Program Founder
Dr. Kent Kidwell, a member of the music faculty at UCO since 1969, recently completed a one year appointment as the Interim Director for the School of Music. His teaching duties over the years have included director of university bands, music education, conducting, music theory, arranging, and he also served as the chairman of the music department for eight years. Since 1974, “Doc” (as his students call him) has helped the UCO jazz program grow to three 20-piece big bands, several jazz combos, a traditional “Dixieland” jazz band, and several applied courses in jazz theory, arranging, and improvisation. The UCO jazz groups have won numerous national and international honors. The UCO Dixieland bands have been national finalists five times, and were twice named “National Champion Collegiate Dixieland Band”. The UCO big bands have participated in jazz festivals and competitions nationwide, including those at Notre Dame, Disneyworld, Wichita, and IAJE conventions in St. Louis, Atlanta, and Columbus. The UCO jazz bands have also participated in European concert tours on four different occasions over the years. Prior to UCO, Dr. Kidwell taught for five years in the public school system of Oklahoma. His professional playing experience includes three years as second trombonist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and he has been principal trombonist with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra for twenty years. His performance background dates back to his teen years when he played in his father’s dance band and led his own jazz groups in college. He continues to perform nationally as a symphonic, jazz, commercial, and solo trombonist. Dr. Kidwell is in constant demand as a clinician and adjudicator nationwide.
The UCO School of Music enriches lives through excellence in teaching and performing. We provide a comprehensive, creative, and personalized educational experience, empowering students to realize their full potential. The School of Music is a division of UCO's College of Fine Arts & Design.