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A Musical Life

A Musical Life: Lisa Hittle

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Lisa Hittle is Assistant Professor of Music and directs the jazz program at Friends University. She is a frequent performer with various jazz ensembles in and around Wichita.

“The Maynard Ferguson Orchestra came to Winfield, Kansas to Southwestern College and played a concert. It was the famous Live at Jimmy’s band, it was that lineup that recorded that album with Bruce Johnstone on baritone saxophone.

It was that night that everything really changed for me and I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

A few years before Maynard died we brought him into Friends University and I got to tell him that story. I’m sure he had heard that story from hundreds of different people, so I don’t know that it made an impression on Maynard. But it was nice for me to get to tell him that.

For a long time, I knew that I wanted to have a career in music but the only thing I knew about was being a high school band director. That was my only exposure. That’s what I planned to do until that fateful Maynard Ferguson concert. Then, a couple years later, I ended up going to a summer camp in Drury, Missouri, with the Stan Kenton Orchestra. That set in motion another dream which was to try and play in that band. I was lucky enough, about four years after that, to do that.”