NSUM Orchestra Recognized at State Capitol

The NSU Middle Lab School Orchestra accompanied by Director Katrice LaCour, Talent Instructor Milovan Paz, Director of Lab Schools Caron Coleman, and Superintendent Dr. Grant Eloi visited the Louisiana State Capitol on May 22. The purpose of the visit was to meet with Governor Edwards, tour the Capitol Building, and be recognized by the House and Senate Floor for exceptional accomplishment during the 2022/23 school year and over the past several years. Director of Orchestra Katrice LaCour and Talent Instructor Milovan Paz were also recognized for their leadership of these young musicians and their constant pursuit of excellence through music education. The group arrived at the State Capitol around 10:30 am and had an early lunch at the Louisiana House Dining Hall. The group proceeded to meet with Governor Edwards for a brief discussion and photo in the press room. The Tour began in the main lobby, covering the history of the Capitol, where and how Bills are written and passed, and a discussion on the assassination of Huey P. Long. The Orchestra then proceeded to the House and Senate Floor for the presentation. The resolutions are as followed:

Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 35 presented by Senators Bernard and Luneau and Representatives Cox and Firment is as follows:

To commend the Northwestern State University (NSU) Middle Lab School Orchestra upon their outstanding performance at Festival Disney and for their many musical accomplishments. The vision and mission of the NSU Middle Lab School is, “Where future leaders flourish and excellence thrives,” and the students clearly represented the vision and mission in their performance at the Festival Disney held March 31-April 1 in Orlando, Fla. The prestigious music festival is a positive and educationally meaningful event for talented middle and high school concert choirs, orchestras, and concert bands; this year it was the premiere international music festival where 51 orchestras, bands, and choirs performed with hopes of winning one of the coveted Mickey Mouse trophies.

At this year’s competition, the NSU Middle Lab School Orchestra consisted of 61 string orchestra members from sixth through eight grade accompanied by 174 supportive individuals including parents, siblings, and grandparents, under the leadership of the Lab School Orchestra Director Katrice LaCour and Talent Instructor Milovan Paz. The group performed in the Ballroom of the Americas at the Disney’s Contemporary Resort and were evaluated by three adjudicators who are distinguished collegiate music educators including: Dr. Kenneth Dye, Director of Bands and Professor of Music at the University of Notre Dame; Dr. Rick Good, Department Chair and Director of Bands at Auburn University; and Professor Gary Langford, Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Florida.

Three types of awards were presented at the award ceremony which took place in the Indiana Jones Theater; the awards were presented to ensembles receiving a superior rating (90-100%) or excellent rating (80-89%). The Best in Class award was presented to the highest rated ensemble within their division; and Festival Disney Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards were presented to the three highest superior rated ensembles overall.

The NSU Middle Lab School Orchestra impressed judges and earned the Festival Disney Superior Award with a score of 93.5% as well as the Best in Class for the highest score in its division. The group was also awarded the Gold Mickey Mouse Award for the highest score overall.

The orchestra is a reflection of the cultural, social, and ethnic diversity of its community achieving a harmony of interest by working towards a common goal. The Legislature of Louisiana does hereby commend the Northwestern State University Middle Lab School Orchestra for its magnificent performance at Festival Disney in Orlando; does hereby congratulate them on an impressive 2023 performance season; and does hereby express sincere and best wishes for continued individual and group success for band members, Orchestra Director Katrice LaCour, and Talent Instructor Milovan Paz.

Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 36 presented by Senators Bernard and Luneau and Representatives Cox and Firment is as follows:

To commend Katrice LaCour upon leading the Northwestern State University (NSU) Middle Lab School Orchestra to international recognition at Festival Disney and for his significant contributions and accomplishments in the music industry. Katrice LaCour led the NSU Middle Lab School Orchestra to the prestigious, international Festival Disney music event that took place March 31-April 1, in Orlando, Fla., serving as the Orchestra Director.

During the Festival Disney, the NSU Middle Lab School Orchestra, under the leadership of Mr. LaCour, impressed judges and earned the Festival Disney Superior Award for a score of 93.5% as well as the Best in Class for the highest score in its division as well as the Gold Mickey Mouse Award for the highest score in the overall competition. Under the baton of Mr. LaCour, NSU Middle Lab School students have attended and earned awards at many notable music festivals including a performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 2019 and at District and State Assessments by the Louisiana Music Educators Association.

Mr. LaCour’s teaching career covers nineteen years in Natchitoches Parish and began after earning a bachelor of music education from Grambling State University in 1991, where he continued to develop his passion for music, mastering the double bass with a minor on the trumpet. In 1996, Mr. LaCour paused his teaching career and professionally toured for 15 years as an entertainer for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and preformed in United Service Organizations shows for the United States military.

His love and dedication for educating young musicians never waned and he returned to teaching in 2009, as Orchestra Director of the NSU Elementary and Middle Lab School Orchestra. Throughout his teaching career, Mr. LaCour remained active as a guest conductor, adjudicator, and clinician of numerous honor orchestras and festivals. Katrice LaCour is a valued educator and treasure of Louisiana and is worthy of recognition for the many contributions he has made to his community, his state, and to the students of Natchitoches Parish.

The Legislature of Louisiana does hereby commend Katrice LaCour, Orchestra Director of NSU Middle Lab School, for his remarkable musical accomplishments and unique talent, and does hereby recognize his significant contributions to music students throughout Louisiana.

After the presentation the group exited and arrived back in Natchitoches later that evening.

Mr. LaCour and the N.S.U. Middle Lab School Orchestra would like to thank Dunahoe Law Firm, Rhodes Properties and Development, Williams Family Law Firm, and Jed and Holly Cain for providing transportation to Baton Rouge.