Lowell Lehman

Lowell Lehman

2010 Zelia Breaux Jazz Educator Inductee Dr. Lowell Lehman has played a key role in Oklahoma Jazz education for nearly half a century.  Raised in a musical family from Phoenix, Arizona, Lehman performed on radio station KOY there as part of the "Lehman Family Band".  Eventually moving to Tahlequah, Oklahoma, he made Oklahoma’s All-State Band three times.  At Northeastern, he played football and was named to the tuba seat on the International Collegiate Band.  He also started the Fort Gibson High School band when he was a senior at NSU.

After his graduation, Lehman was a band instructor at Tahlequah and in Anderson, Missouri before becoming a band director at NSU in 1966.  During his thirty years at the school as band director and instructor, he taught hundreds of music students and provided a model for jazz in higher education in Oklahoma.  Following his lead, many other institutions created jazz programs in the 1970's that are still flourishing today.  As a founder and manager of the Green Country Jazz Festival, Lehman brought great musicians like Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Doc Severinsen, and Woody Herman to NSU, allowing students to learn from and perform with them.  Lehman has played a major part in the development of the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, including his service as one of the first members of the Board of Directors.