The University of Southern Mississippi School of Music hosts a jazz program that is directed by Larry Panella. The program was running smoothly and students were learning the great music of America in their comfy “jazz station” on the USM campus, in Hattiesburg, Miss. until the violent EF4 multiple-vortex wedge tornado hit the city in February 2013. The road to recovery has given birth to a stronger program, back on its feet after losing almost everything.
Director of Jazz Studies at USM, Larry Panella, sat down with me to talk about the long and eventful school year the fall and spring semesters have been for him and the program.
Here’s a look at the obstacles the program overcame, and the sweet reward they are enjoying, coming in the fall semester of 2014.