Jazz Band Competes in Las Vegas

On Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, jazz band attended and performed in The Essentially Ellington Regional Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. The festival was non-competitive, but jazz band received many awards. Jazz 2 had an outstanding soloist: Matthew Sosa, a junior who plays tenor saxophone and clarinet. Jazz 1 also received an award for outstanding saxophone section.

It was announced that jazz band was attending the festival last year. This made the performers excited because it allowed them to travel, perform, and spend time wth their friends.. This also provided time for the band time to practice and to arrive prepared for the festival. The performers were looking forward to spending time with their friends and to have another opportunity to perform. Jazz band prepared three pieces for around two months and worked with professional musicians who gave valuable feedback.

Freshman and alto saxophone player, Austin Dickens said, “Last year when Mr. Davis announced that we would be traveling to Vegas to perform in the Essentially Ellington Regional Festival, I was hyped. We already go to Reno, Nevada in April so this would be another fun experience with my friends. I was so excited to go and see so many other great bands. It was such a good musical experience.”

“I was really excited to go. I had heard a lot about the program from other students and was looking forward to being able to bond with the forty-some kids on the trip,” said freshman and trumpet player Bryan Bergo.

As well as the band practicing together, each individual performer practiced by themselves. Practicing for months, some performers went into the band room before school, at lunch and after school to practice. The performers believed that practicing constantly was the best way to learn and understand the pieces.

Piano player and senior Rylee Allen said, “I personally prepare by practicing technique on the piano and then applying it to the tunes, but I practiced a lot for our closing chart which had a piano solo in it.”

“I spent months and months practicing, I came in at lunch to work with my section, and I also listened to recordings nonstop of some of our pieces to further my knowledge of them,” said Bergo.

This band season, each performer had ups and downs. With constantly practicing, the performers were having to keep up with schoolwork and life outside of the band. In the end, each performer agrees that it was worth it. The feeling after performing at the festival was rewarding for everyone.

“The most rewarding thing is always the joy you get when the entire band clicks. We definitely came out swinging in Vegas, and the audience reaction was proof,” said Allen.

“Personally, I believe that music is an outlet to show personality in a different way. After performing, I get a sense of accomplishment and joy. I like to put everything aside and realize I just got to enjoy and make music with my friends,” said Dickens.

“During the performance, we all smiled and cheered each other on and even laughed on stage together, which I believe was the best feeling I had the entire trip,” said Bergo.