Frechou heads 'Spirit of the Southland' and other Southeastern bands
Contact: Constance Woods
HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University has named Paul Frechou assistant to associate director of bands. The veteran music educator and performer will direct Southeastern’s Spirit of the Southland marching band and other athletic bands.
Before joining the Department of Music and Dramatic Arts faculty, Frechou directed the marching band, concert band and jazz band at Mandeville High School.
He has performed frequently as a woodwind player with orchestras such as the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Gulf Cost Symphony, Saenger Broadway Orchestra, Tulane Summer Lyric Orchestra, Jefferson Performing Arts Society Orchestra, Guy Lombardo Orthestra, and the John Mahoney Big Band.
A music instructor for more than 20 years, Frechou is a graduate of the University of New Orleans, where he received a bachelor’s degree in music education and master’s degree in clarinet performance. He has also taught clarinet at both UNO and Southeastern.
“I feel my greatest accomplishment has been to see my former band students go into music teaching or performance,” said Frechou.
Under Frechou’s direction, the Mandeville High School jazz band performed at the 2005 Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, the largest band conference in the world. The conference is a meeting place for over 14,000 middle school, high school and college band directors and allows them an opportunity to watch performances by jazz bands, concert bands and orchestras with guest conductors and guest artists that perform with each group.
“Being invited to the conference was a great honor,” said Frechou, “Mandeville High School was the first grade-school jazz band from Louisiana ever to perform at the conference. Our 20-member jazz band’s performance rallied support from the entire Mandeville community.”
Frechou has also performed with celebrities such as Natalie Cole, Marvin Hamlisch, Bob Hope, Anne Murray, Frankie Avalon, The Drifters, The Four Tops, Regis Philbin, Fabian, Bobby Rydell, Milton Berle, and The Temptations. His recordings with several musical groups include the Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra, New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra and the jazz vocal group Five by Design.
As Southeastern’s marching band director he promotes school spirit. He also provides students with the opportunity to learn about marching drill and how to coordinate a marching band program.
“I think this training is important since we have a lot of music majors in the band that will be doing this as a career,” he said.
In addition to his duties as athletic marching band director, Frechou will also direct the concert band in the spring led by previous director Jeff Vaugh. The concert band is open to all students of the university by audition.
“People in Louisiana and the south, as well as other band directors, are aware of how strong the music program is at Southeastern,” Frechou said, “and I think it will continue to grow because of the reputation it has earned.”
To help promote the university’s band program, Frechou has a number of activities planned this semester for Strawberry Stadium, including High School Band Day on Oct. 6 and a concert on Oct. 20 in which popular New Orleans singer Charmaine Neville will perform with the Spirit of the Southland marching band.
As part of High School Band Day 240 high school band students from more than a dozen area schools will join the Spirit of the Southland band in Strawberry Stadium for the halftime show during the Southeastern vs. Stephen F. Austin football game.
“Students will get an opportunity to see first-hand what Southeastern’s band is all about, get a chance to talk with band members, and will want toattend Southeastern,” Frechou said.
Participating schools include Amite High School, Loranger High School, Ponchatoula High School, Walker High School, Mandeville’s Fontainebleau High School, Slidell’s Salmen High School, Varnado High School, Franklinton High School, New Orleans’ Dominican High School, Metairie’s Ridgewood Preparatory, Baton Rouge’s Istrouma High School and Geismar’s Dutchtown High School.
At 6 p.m. on Oct. 20, Neville will perform tunes from her “Queen of the Mardi Gras” CD, accompanied by the Spirit of the Southland band. The concert will mark the first time Neville has performed with a marching band. Spirit of the Southland percussion director Kevin Estoque will write and arrange the percussion music for the event.
For additional information regarding the marching band, contact Frecheou, (985) 549-3825 or University Bands Office, (985) 549-3654.