June 1, 2023

Doug Gately: All That Jazz

In a corner office of Pollard Hall, with rays of sun bouncing from one instrument to the next, Mary Washington alumnus and director of the UMW Jazz Ensemble Doug Gately discusses his career as a musician and educator. The wall behind him is packed with photos of the promising pupils he’s taught since joining the faculty in 1999.

And Gately’s musical prowess doesn’t stop with his students. He shares his expertise with the community in many ways, including events like this weekend’s Jazz4Justice concert. The event, set for Saturday in Mary Washington’s Dodd Auditorium, features the UMW Jazz Ensemble and other groups. Proceeds benefit legal aid and provide scholarships for music students.

Having performed from Europe to South America, and with such groups as the National Symphony Orchestra and such legendary artists as Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole and Aretha Franklin, Gately is a “note”-worthy member of the UMW faculty.


Q: What motivates you to do what you do?

A: I enjoy music, and what motivates me at this point is I enjoy creating things. I think it’s important to pass the torch so the new generation can grow and put their stamp on music.

Q: What do you find inspiring in music?

A: Music is another way to communicate with your fellow man. You can express yourself, reach someone else, touch their being, give them something they enjoy. Music is an international language.

Q: How do you think Jazz4Justice inspires the community?

A: It provides a wonderful artistic outlet for people in the community, and certainly for our students.

Q: What is your favorite piece to play and why?

A: My training, my degrees, are in woodwinds such as the flute, clarinet, saxophone. But my latest endeavor over the last 10 years has been piano. Piano to me is wonderful, the whole orchestra is under your fingers – harmony, melody, rhythm.


Q: What’s a motto you share with your students?

A: Hope is not a plan of action.


  1. Lee Hethcox says

    Nice portrait of an interesting faculty member!