Jazz Band values the experience
The New Hampton High School Jazz Band earned an “excellent” and two “good” ratings last Wednesday — and also gained some valuable experience — at the Iowa High School Music Association State Jazz Festival in Charles City.
Wednesday’s contest was postponed from its earlier date Monday because of the weather.
The contest featured Jazz ensembles from seven high schools — New Hampton, Turkey Valley, Central Springs, Sumner-Fredericksburg, North Fayette Valley and Decorah. The bands didn’t compete against each other, but played for individual ratings.
“We played pretty well. It was our first contest of the year,” said New Hampton Band Director Justin Adam. “They got to kind of find out how the routine works.”
Bands perform a minimum of three pieces of contrasting styles. One of the pieces is required to be a swing piece. Bands receive ratings from “superior” to “poor,” and New Hampton received one excellent rating and two good ratings for the three selections they performed.
“We came in a little bit lower,” said Adam. “I emphasize the clinic and the experience performing in different venues for different crowds over ratings. It's all about listening to other groups and learning how to improve ourselves as musicians.”
Adam said that the band received good compliments from the judges, especially for their solos.
“What I like about it, after the performance, some of the judges will come up on stage and do a little clinic with the kids,” Adam said. “They gave them some tips and pointers on how to make the performance more interesting. I try to choose events that offer that kind thing — so it isn’t just go and perform and see how you stack up, there’s an educational component to it.”
Some of the band members felt it was a good experience.
“I thought we did really well, we got some great feedback and we’ll plan to do better for our next competition,” said Ethan Rosonke.
“I personally enjoyed it, I thought it was really fun,” added Erik Heeren. “I was pretty happy, I thought we did our best.”
Adam said that a lot of the kids were playing secondary instruments, not the same ones they play in concert band.
“We’re a young band — majority freshman and sophomores, a couple seniors and a couple juniors,” Adam said. “Two years ago, it was a group of six, and now we’re up to a group of 24. We’ve got a little bit of learning to do.”
Unlike concert band, which is a class taken for a grade, jazz band is extra-curricular. It is not a graded class.
“The kids come in before school two days a week for practice,” Adam said.
The three pieces New Hampton performed were “My Favorite Things,” with solos by Jeffrey Reicks, trumpet; Elliot Throndson, guitar; Morgan Nuss, Alto Saxophone; “Shiny Stockings,” with a solo by Jeffrey Reicks, and “Coconut Champagne.”
For more of this article, see Tuesday's Tribune.