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Jazz band takes second at festival

The jazz band placed second and received a Division I rating at the Jazz in the Meadows Festival in Chicago. 

The festival, which is the largest of its kind in the Midwest, allows students to compete with their bands, but junior Jonah Roberts said that other opportunities and activities are also available for the musicians. 

“We performed for the judges and some parents. When we had a break, there was a jam session, so anyone who wanted to could go up there and play a song with some sheet music they gave you. Everyone would take a solo, so it was very fun to see other people’s solos. Also, there was a band there that we all got to see called New Nostalgia,” Roberts said

The jazz band attends Jazz in the Meadows annually and jumped up from last year’s third place ranking. Band director Jeremy Loui said that although the band did well last year, their performance was lively and received well. 

“Last year was a really great performance, and I wasn’t sure if we could top that. But the band was really high energy and really got the audience engaged for the whole performance. We have gotten a lot of comments about how much people liked the wide variety of music we performed this year, and the students really delivered on authentically performing multiple different styles of music,” Loui said.

The band also received many individual awards, and senior Zach Hardee said he was pleased with the group’s success this year.

“We did a lot better than we did last year. We placed second in Class 2A, [sophomore] Sawyer Swearingen and [freshman] Caleb Hardee won outstanding musicianship certificates, and I won outstanding soloist in Class 2A. I’m super happy with how we performed. I’m super proud of the group,” Zach said. 

Loui agreed, saying that the musicians are strong on their own and as an ensemble.

“The students performed really well at the festival- by far our best run of those songs. A real strength for us is our soloists as well as our approach to large group playing. We spend a lot of time unifying the approach to each tune, and that really showed in our performance,” Loui said.

After the performance, Roberts said that students were able to receive critics from the festival’s judges. 

“[The judges] have a 30 minute clinic with us afterward and we ran through the piece again, and they told us things to fix so that was really helpful,” Roberts said. 

In addition to the judge’s comments, Zach said that performing in front of an audience leads to growth within the band.

“We get direct feedback from professional musicians and educators, and their feedback helps the band’s musicianship improve. Performing in front of a crowd also helps us improve,” Zach said. 

In addition to competing, the jazz band will perform alongside the middle school students at Swing and Sweets on March 13 at Rockwood South. The event will include deserts and coffee, and tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for students. 

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About the Contributor
Mary Corkery, Editor-In-Chief
Class of 2025 Time on staff: 3 years Favorite newspaper memory: My first January stay late when our editor accidently stole a pizza Favorite song: "Bottle Rocket" by Briston Maroney and Manchester Orchestra

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