JazzFest Artists 2018


Five wonderful musicians, equally at home in the symphony or the jazz band, The Arkansas Brass is a traditional brass quintet (two trumpets, horn, trombone, and tuba), that performs the best music from the Renaissance to Ragtime. Acclaimed for their ability to entertain all generations, the musicians have thrilled audiences throughout the South. Whether it's a formal evening concert, or a clinic for an astounded audience of school children, the knowledge, experience, excitement, and humor of these respected musician/educators combine for an unforgettable experience. The members are the principal brass players in the South Arkansas Symphony, and all have a Masters or Doctorate in Music. Their alma maters are Northwestern University, the University of North Texas, Henderson State University, the University of South Carolina, the University of Michigan, and the University of Southern Mississippi. The versatility of Arkansas Brass enables it to perform for a wide variety of events: recitals, community concerts, weddings, school programs, outdoor festivals, jazz programs, clinics for music educators, and even funerals. These musicians have done it all. Collectively the members have over two hundred years of playing experience, and they have played together as a quintet for 30 years.

Friday “Classical & Jazz Blow Out” – Bathhouse Dinner Theatre @ 7:00pm

ARKANSAS HIGH JAZZ BAND directed by Gary Meggs with special guest Dick Eckstein

Bio coming

Saturday “Jazz in the Streets” @ 12:20pm



lead by Bill Halbrook with vocalist Shirley Chauvin

The most exciting musical experience around awaits you in the sounds of the Arkansas Jazz Orchestra. Some of the most versatile musicians in any part of the country are ready to give you a concert that will have you on the edge of your seat. Drawing music from some of the greatest jazz names of yesteryear such as Basie, Ellington, Kenton, Herman, Rich and many others, this organization will mesmerize you with subtlety and then knock your socks off. But it doesn't stop there. The AJO also plays hits from current artists and composers. These new hits include the some of the toughest and most heart-pounding arrangements to come along in decades. You've got to hear them to believe them.

Saturday “Jazz in the Streets” @ 3:00pm

ATM (Anything That Moves)

ATM is a specialty band made up of some of Arkansas’ finest musicians. Led by music director/arranger/pianist Clyde Pound, the Jazz ensemble plays a wide variety of music ranging from swing to modern jazz. Moving to Arkansas after an impressive career in San Francisco as band leader at the Hungry i nightclub and as music contractor and recording producer in Hawaii, Clyde has formed ATM to showcase his extensive jazz combo experience. Included in ATM are Paul Stivitts on drums, David Higginbotham on bass Les Pack on guitar, Clyde Pound on keyboard and Matt Catingub on saxophone, keyboard and vocals.

Friday “Classical & Jazz Blow Out” – Bathhouse Dinner Theatre @ 7:00pm


An audience favorite for over 30 years, the beautiful, youthful and energetic Jackie Beaumont masters the stage. For over 30 years she’s been performing as singer, emcee, writer and event producer to the stage with her sultry tones and moves.

Having headlined concerts all over, she is known for her fabulous work as MC and headliner for the Make a Wish Foundation of South Carolina's annual Fashion Arts Ball, (FAB.) She has recorded and toured extensively with the Andrew Thielen Big Band, as well as being the headline entertainer for the premier 2001 Entertainment Complex in Myrtle Beach.

Friday “Classical & Jazz Blow Out” – Bathhouse Dinner Theatre @ 7:00pm


The son of the great jazz vocalist and “Polynesia’s First Lady of Song,” Mavis Rivers, Catingub regularly performed with his mom. In 2007 Matt, a proud pacific islander, was handed the Samoan Chief’s title of La`auli by King Malietoa Tanumafili II, the final title issued before his death. As a young man, he played a variety of instruments, conducted his first orchestra at age 15, focused on Alto sax at 16, and at age 17 played his sax at the Monterey Jazz Festival, and from there toured Japan playing with jazz legends including Dizzy Gillespie, and Ruth Brown. From there Catingub joined the Louie Bellson Big Band and a couple of years later joined the Toshiko Akiyoshi / Lew Tabackin Big Band as lead alto saxophonist. In 1983, Catingub formed the Matt Catingub Big Band, with Rivers as vocalist, and recorded several critically acclaimed jazz albums with his mom.

Matt had made his solo singing debut at the Frank Sinatra Celebration at New York City's legendary Carnegie Hall and as a result of his performance there, the Concord Jazz CD Gershwin 100 was conceived. Catingub also wrote and performed the music for the George Clooney film, “Goodnight and Good Luck,” made an onscreen appearance as the leader of the band, created all of the arrangements and played tenor sax in the movie and on the CD. The Soundtrack for “Goodnight and Good Luck”, featuring Matt and vocalist Diane Reeves won a Grammy. Catingub has also enjoyed success as the leader of his Big Band, Big Kahuna and the Copa Cat Pack touring the world with Rosemary Clooney, and backing notable artists such as Michael Feinstein, Linda Eder, Lionel Hampton, and many others. Today Matt is considered to be at the forefront of a new and innovative movement to reinvent Pops into a more fun and accessible format, encouraging dancing (when the venue allows) and loose fun, within a more informal and contemporary setting.

Friday “Classical & Jazz Blow Out” – Bathhouse Dinner Theatre @ 7:00pm
Saturday “Jazz in the Streets” with University of Arkansas in Monticello @ 4:20pm


Shirley Chauvin studied jazz and music education at North Texas University. She has led her own jazz and fusion combos in the Dallas area, opened for Dionne Warwick, John Davidson, Mel Torme and often appears at jazz festivals in Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona. Chauvin has performed in the Abilene Philharmonic Pops series and tours with the Arkansas Jazz Orchestra. She is the director of S'Wonderful and the co-director of the Little Big Band. Chauvin is a founder of the Hot Springs Jazz Society and is presently President of the board, Chair of the Membership Committee and Editor of the Society newsletter, HotNotes. Chauvin is a key contributor to the production of all Jazz Society programming and director of programming for twelve of the JazzFest events.

Saturday “Jazz in the Streets” with Arkansas Jazz Orchestra @ 3:00pm

Dick Eckstien (lft) with UAM director Gary Meggs


Richard Eckstein (pictured on the left with Arkansas High School Jazz Band director Gary Meggs) has been teaching music in the public schools of East Texas for the past 32 years. He is currently the Mt Vernon ISD Jr. High Band Director. In this position, he works with his wife, Mrs. Tanya Eckstein, assisting the Mighty Tiger Marching and Concert Bands, the Mt Vernon beginner band, the MVJH Band and the MVHS Jazz Band. Throughout his career, Mr Eckstein’s bands have been consistent award winners in marching, concert, and sight-reading competitions and he is in demand as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator throughout the Four States Area.

As a trombonist, Mr. Eckstein performs regularly in a wide variety of venues. He is the director and lead trombonist with the Texarkana Jazz Orchestra and plays in several other groups including: The Bill Causey Orchestra of Shreveport, LA., the LA Legacy Jazz Orchestra, the Colt 45’s, and the Bois D’Arc Dixieland Band. Mr. Eckstein has had the opportunity to perform in concert with the following musicians and entertainers: Fabian, Bobby Rydell, The Shirelles, Bobby Vinton, Jim Nabors, Mary Wilson and The Supremes, Don Rickles, Robert Goulet, Joe Piscopo, Lorna Luft, Natalie Cole, The Temptations, Bill Watrous, Tom ‘Bones’ Malone, Regis Philbin, Joan Rivers, Frank Sinatra Jr., and Wayne Newton.

Mr. Eckstein attended East Texas State University on a music scholarship, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education. He has also recently received a master degree in Trombone performance from Texas A&M University – Commerce. Mr. Eckstein is the proud father of three daughters and a son in law – Emily and Lauren Eckstein, and, Anna and Kevin Sutton.

Saturday “Jazz in the Streets” with Arkansas High Jazz Band @ 12:20pm


Bill Halbrook started playing drums in school groups around age twelve and with garage bands in high school. He continued playing in college while earning a master’s degree in music and serving as principal chair with many university organizations. Bill has also played professionally with local groups and in several studios. After college, Bill was on the road for three years playing set after set before settling in Arkansas. He now leads and drums for the Stardust Big Band/Arkansas Jazz Orchestra, Sweet Mother, and the Little Big Band; and he is the drummer with Colt & the Old 45's, Code Blue, and Trip Jonesy. In addition to drumming, Bill is an accomplished singer and writer.

Saturday “Jazz in the Streets” with Arkansas Jazz Orchestra @ 3:00pm

HENDERSON STATE'S NuFUSION directed by Rick Dimond

NuFusion, is the name of Henderson State University’s annual Spring semester jazz ensemble project. Henderson’s jazz program is unique in its contrasting repertoire between semesters. In the fall, the jazz ensemble focuses on traditional and contemporary big band styles from current, all the way back to the Big Band Era. In Spring semesters, the ensemble presents a unique project centered around student arrangements of a much wider variety of styles, which culminates each year in a late-April outdoor concert, with professional sound and lighting on the beautiful Henderson Quad. The NuFusion project features Henderson’s big band and vocalists, presenting student arrangements of tunes by jazz, rock, pop, and other styles of artists. NuFusion is often an eclectic mix of songs and pieces, but the student group is always energetic and accessible to a large range of audiences. Under the direction of Dr. Rick Dimond, the NuFusion project is frequently asked to perform at regional events around Arkansas, most notably the Hot Springs JazzFest.

NuFusion is a high-energy large ensemble made up of the top music students from Henderson State University, located in nearby Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Under the creative leadership of the multi-talented Rick Dimond (Acoustisin), NuFusion plays a remarkably wide catalog, from the rock hits of Maroon 5, No Doubt and Smashing Pumpkins, to the classic charts of Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich and Nat King Cole. A crowd-pleasing feature of NuFusion concerts is the group of talented vocalists who front the band. It's also impressive to know that these students arrange the music they perform. NuFusion is so favored they have become a JazzFest regular.

Saturday “Jazz in the Streets” @ 1:40pm


Probably no one has ever done more to interest Arkansas young people in jazz than Earl Hesse. He could do it because he is not only a teacher of jazz but a performer who can improvise and play any book with any band in the land.

Hesse has been a sideman in orchestras named for Jimmy Dorsey, Nelson Riddle, Jan Garber, Tommy Dorsey, Les Elgart, Russ Morgan and Benny Goodman. He frequently plays on the riverboat Mississippi Queen and for the Jan Garber and the Dick Jurgens orchestras on American Queen cruise ships.

Thursday “Jazz Night at The Ohio Club” with Spa City Stompers – The Ohio Club @ 7:00pm


Mezzo-Soprano, Diane Kesling's career has included singing engagements with some of the world's leading opera houses. She was a solo artist on the Metropolitan Opera roster for fourteen years, where she performed over 40 roles. Kesling's professional career has scheduled her all over the world and includes appearances with the most prestigious Opera companies in the world. Since moving to Arkansas, Ms. Kesling has become a teacher of singing, and currently is a professor of voice at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where she maintains a full studio.

Friday “Classical & Jazz Blow Out” – Bathhouse Dinner Theatre @ 7:00 pm


Professor Emeritus from the Uni¬versity of Missouri-Kansas City, is the host of “Jazz On A Saturday Morning” on the new Hot Springs community radio station - KUHS-FM, 97.9 on the FM dial. Known to his listeners as “The Other Dr. John,” Leisenring plays jazz on Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. 

Thursday “Jazz Night at The Ohio Club” with Spa City Stompers – The Ohio Club @ 7:00pm


Acclaimed seven-string jazz guitarist Ted Ludwig (b. 1974, New Orleans, LA) has been a part of the jazz scene in New Orleans since 1997. Throughout that time period, he has performed for numerous club performances, festivals, and recordings. He has released 4 albums as a leader and many more as a versatile sideman and co leader. Ted earned his Bachelor and Masters Degrees from the University of New Orleans Jazz Studies Program, under the direction of the legendary pianist Ellis Marsalis Jr. He received an ASCAP award, the Louis Armstrong award, and the Overture to the Cultural Season award for his outstanding musicianship and creativity. Inspired by the recordings of Joe Pass, Pat Martino, and Wes Montgomery, Ludwig soon became one of the most sought after guitarists in the New Orleans jazz scene, working professionally as a soloist, and accompanist.

He has performed with notable contemporaries such as; Ellis Marsalis, Peter Bernstein, Bob Dorough, Larry Coryell, Nathan East, Nicholas Payton, Howard Alden, Mundell Lowe, Rick Margitza, Julian Labro, Steve Masakowski, John Ellis, Tony Dagradi, Mike Pellera, Jason Marsalis, Ron Eschete’, Johnny Vidacovich, Herlin Riley, and many more. In 2005, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Ludwig created his own eclectic Jazz Trio gaining instant accolades from critics and musicians alike for his astonishing virtuosity and prolific originality. Since 2007, Ted has maintained a fruitful association with the Infrared Record Label. He has recorded, produced, and released four albums as a leader and has continuously performed on many other recordings as a co-leader and sideman. In 2016, Ludwig had the great opportunity to perform with orchestra an original Jazz Guitar Concerto entitled “Katrina”. The piece was composed by D.J. Sparr and commissioned by The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Ted received rave reviews for his performances of the concerto. In 2016, Ted was the youngest inductee into The Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame. He continues to dazzle audiences from around the world.  

Saturday “Jazz in the Streets” @ 11:00am


Gary Meggs was born in EL Dorado Arkansas. He began his band career in the 6th grade with director Bill Craig. As a high school student Gary had director Hal Cooper and he received his Bachelors and Master degrees studying with Wendell Evanson and saxophonist Earl Hesse at Henderson State. Upon graduation, Meggs began a 22-year journey teaching public school bands in Texas where he achieved consistent UIL superior and sweepstakes awards in Marching, Concert and Jazz Bands. Meggs is the retired Director of Bands for the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

Meggs is now the Director of Bands for the Texarkana Arkansas School District where he directs the concert band and Arkansas High Jazz Band. In addition, Meggs continues to be very active as a clinician, adjudicator and performer throughout the USA. Most recently Meggs completed a 9-month world tour playing saxophone, flute and clarinet with the World-Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra. Meggs has also performed with many entertainers such as The Harry James Orchestra, The Temptations, Four Tops, Bob Newhart, Don Rickles, Mickey Gilley, Conway Twitty, Lou Marini, Regis Philbin, Tom Bones Malone and many others.

Meggs has been a guest artist with the 8th Air Force Jazz Band, Air Force Band of the West, and was the director of the 531st Air Force Jazz Band during his military career. He is also retired from the 106th Army National Guard Band.

Saturday “Jazz in the Streets” with the Arkansas High Jazz Band @ 12:20pm


Lester D. Pack graduated from Henderson State University with a Bachelor of Music Education. He received his Master of Music Degree from the University of Arkansas in Instrumental Conducting. Pack also studied composition and jazz guitar at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA.

Pack is currently associate professor of music and associate director of bands at the university of Arkansas at Monticello. There he teaches Music Theory I, II, III and IV, Harmonic Form and Analysis, jazz band, jazz guitar and bass, as well as applied percussion.

Pack was a student of famed marimba maker Doug Demorrow and renowned saxophonist Earl Hesse. His conducting teachers were Wendell Evanson and Eldon Janzen. At the University of Arkansas, he studied jazz guitar and composition with Dr. James Greeson. While at the Berklee College of Music he studied jazz guitar with Al Defino and contemporary harmony and composition with Alex Ulanowsky.

Lester Pack in association with Brian and Angela Rhodes are owners of Twin Towers Music Publishing. Twin Towers Music Publishing specializes in the publication of concert band music for all levels of band, with an emphasis on young band literature.

Pack has been a member of the Four States Bandmasters Association since 1983. He also is an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi, and a member of Phi Beta Mu.

Pack has been an adjudicator in the areas of band including marching, concert/sight reading, jazz, and solo and ensemble. He has been clinician for honor bands, guest soloist with jazz ensembles, and has worked with band camp bands during the summer.

Friday “Classical & Jazz Blow Out” with ATM – Bathhouse Dinner Theatre @ 7:00 pm


Friday “Classical & Jazz Blow Out” with ATM – Bathhouse Dinner Theatre @ 7:00 pm


Clyde Pound’s career spans decades as performer, producer and composer to some of the most notable artists and groups. He has performed jazz with Dizzy Gillespie, Maynard Ferguson, Dave Pell, Chris Conners and Johnny Mathis. He was band leader at the world famous Hungry i nightclub in San Francisco where he worked with Laura Nyro, Mel Torme, Noel Harrison, Bill Cosby, Robert Klein, Richard Pryor and even Flip Wilson. In Hawaii prior to relocating to Hot Springs, Pound acted as President of UNISON INC which provided bands for Jim Nabors, Rich Little, Danny Gans, Julie Budd, The Letterman, Connie Hanes, Dianne Carroll, Vic Damone, Rodger Williams, Joel Grey, Playboy’s Girls of Rock & Roll, The Supremes, Sammy David Jr., Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli, Fred Travolena, the Temptations and many many more. He was also the Musical director, arranger and keyboardist with the dance band ATM and the Honolulu Swing Express. His talents are not limited to the stage however as Pound has worked on commercials for Harley Davison, Honda, Talco Bell, and Simons as well as the music soundtrack for the Kanai Helicopters promo featuring Orson Wells as shown on United Airlines. Since his arrival in Hot Springs, Pound’s career has shown no signs of a slowdown. He has recreated the dance Band ATM (Anything That Moves) playing the keyboard, has taken on the role as Entertainment Chairman of the Hot Springs JazzFest 2007 thru 2018 and was former President of the Hot Springs Jazz Society.

Thursday “Jazz Night at The Ohio Club” with Spa City Stompers – The Ohio Club @ 7:00pm
Friday “Classical & Jazz Blow Out” with ATM – Batthouse Dinner Theatre @ 7:00pm


George “Doc” Ryan has played the trumpet and cornet since age 10. Growing up in Louisiana and Mississippi, he was a jazz fan from his childhood years. He led the Steamboat Stompers in Boston and The Hot Cotton Jazz Band in Memphis and founded the Memphis Traditional Jazz Festival in 1982. Since retiring to Hot Springs in 1993, he has served on the Board of the Hot Springs Jazz Society, appeared at the annual JazzFest multiple times, at the Afterthought in Little Rock, and at traditional U.S. and European jazz festivals with Hot Cotton. In 2018 he was inducted into the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame. His style was influenced by such diverse talents as Louis Armstrong, Harry James, Yank Lawson, and Wild Bill Davison. For more than four decades he wore two hats – physician and cornet player. He is now retired, living – and playing – in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Thursday “Jazz Night at The Ohio Club” with Spa City Stompers – The Ohio Club @ 7:00pm


The sound of Spa City Stompers Jazz Band harkens from dimly lit speakeasies of the roaring 1920s and long-forgotten gramophones playing crackling 78's. In their hot rhythms and sweet melodies, you'll find the glamour, mystery, and excitement of the Jazz Age.

Known to grip their audience from beginning to end, The Spa City Stompers gives a memorable performance every time. Spa City Stompers brings New Orleans everywhere they go, by way of 1920's and 30's Hot Jazz, Ragtime, Dixieland, and Second Line tunes.

The Stompers is led by George “Doc” Ryan on cornet with Paul Stivitts on drums, David Higginbotham on bass, Clyde Pound on keyboard, Earl Hesse on clarinet and John Leisenring on trombone

Thursday “Jazz Night at The Ohio Club” – The Ohio Club @ 7:00pm


Paul Stivitts has been a drummer since the day he discovered ‘Animal’ on the Muppet Show. A consummate professional, Paul’s been performing, recording, teaching, and composing music for over two decades. A member of the World Champion Santa Clara Vanguard, and the Blue Knights drum and bugle corps, he is recognized as the creator of what is now known within the rudimental activity as the infamous “Book Report”.

Paul graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in Jazz Studies. where had the opportunity to perform with the likes of Dave Liebman, Airto, Slide Hampton, and Bob Mintzer. Paul was fortunate to have studied with renown percussive educators Ralph Hardimon, Paul Rennick, Jim Chapin, Anthony Cirone, Tom Float, and Ed Soph.

Paul's inspired musical career has taken him to 48 states, 15 European Nations, Brazil, Canada, England, Mexico, Nicaragua, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, and Russia. In this boundless journey around the globe, his musical diversity has led to touring, recording, and sharing the stage with: Jazz legend Maynard Ferguson, Lauryn Hill, Jamie Benjamin, Ian Axel, James Blunt, Burlap to Cashmere, Braddigan, Brave Combo, Billy Childs, Peter Christlieb, Dispatch, Susan Enan, Evensong Rising, Stan Getz, Dave Grusin, Slide Hampton, Matthew Hasletine, Jackopierce, Diana Krall and the Henri Mancini Orchestra, Taylor Hicks, Vertical Horizon, Wayne Krantz, Toby Lightman, Kelley McRae, Jon Regen, Arturo Sandoval, Diane Shuur, Train, Bill Watrous, Ernie Watts, Gary Willis, Zach Williams, and many others. This has also produced many major and indie label recording credits as well.

Thursday “Jazz Night at The Ohio Club” with Spa City Stompers – The Ohio Club @ 7:00pm
Friday “Classical & Jazz Blow Out” with ATM – Bathhouse Dinner Theatre @ 7:00pm


UAM's premiere Jazz Band will be performing with clinicians Mike Vax on trumpet and Allen Won on saxophone. Mike Vax is an international artist and a Summit Record recording artist who has performed on more than 75 albums, including 20 under his own name. Allen Won whose eclectic performance itinerary has encompassed playing with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, many of the orchestras in and around New York and various jazz and experimental groups. Vax and Won are part of a collaborative effort between UAM and the Jazz Society to bring established, professional musicians to UAM’s students in an effort to expand the students’ musical education and experiences.

Saturday "Jazz in the Streets" @ 4:20pm