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Jazz Emsemble earns merit at Temple Jazz FestivalWaxahachie, Texas — April 8, 2014 — Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) Jazz Ensemble, led by Professor Tyrone Block, won several awards at the Temple Jazz Festival at Temple College on March 29, 2014.

The SAGU Jazz Ensemble is an auditioned group and has been under the direction of SAGU Professor Tyrone Block, M.M., for nearly 10 years. At the Temple Jazz Ensemble, he and his team collectively won more awards than they ever have before at any single event.

"One of the unique things occurring in the music department at SAGU is that greater levels of musicianship are constantly being uncovered," Block said. "Christian musicians have had a negative stigma placed upon them for many years; they’re constantly being told that they are subpar, that they can’t read music, that 'it’s just a church service – you don’t need excellence.'  However, the musicians in the SAGU Jazz Ensemble are breaking those misconceptions with each passing class."

After competing in the Temple Jazz Festival, the SAGU group not only received a superior rating for their performance but also made new school records by receiving seven outstanding musician awards. The recipients of these awards were: Kristen Neel, keyboard; Daniel Borden, guitar; Matthew Morales, drums; Marissa Bayes, vocalist; Dadrian Taylor, alto saxophone; Tom Lepper, trombone; and Matthan Lough, trumpet.

"The festival was an entertaining and educational weekend of outstanding jazz that brought together top professional artists and hundreds of young musicians," Block said. "I am very proud of my students, and I look forward to more successful competitions in the future."

Members of the SAGU Jazz Ensemble: Kristen Neel, Daniel Borden (lead), Rachel Francis, Collin Clements, Sean Ochoa, Matthew Morales, Marissa Bayes, Cayla Wright, Abigail Hernandez, Pernell Moore, Caitlin Leslie (lead), Dadrian Taylor, Jessica Meissner, Tyrone Block, Del Guynes, Tom Lepper, Preston Morris, James Bridges, Megan Schwendemann (lead), and Matthan Lough.

For more information about the SAGU Jazz Ensemble, email Block at or call 972-825-4792.

Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The university was established in 1927, and now offers more than 70 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees on campus or online. More information is available at or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU.

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