Spotlight on Jazz

Jazz Band Showcase is different from other musical concerts at NW.

Annalissa Houser

SM North, SM West, Trailridge Middle School, NW and a professional jazz group circle the audience in the cafeteria to present their talents. The audience turns their chairs as the different jazz bands begin to perform.

The jazz band showcase has not always been the round robin event that it is known to be today. Years ago, the event was The Cabaret, there were performances going on in multiple rooms and more schools involved. The cabaret was much more of a social event than the showcase is today.

“At a certain point (The Cabaret) got to be such a social event that it overshadowed my students,” jazz band instructor Doug Talley said. “I got to thinking that this (event) is really about the students and that we should cut things back.”

Since the showcase format has been introduced, Trailridge and a professional group have always been featured alongside NW as well as a couple of other high schools.

This is senior Greta Chistianson’s fourth year in jazz band. Christianson loves performing with the group and hearing the music that they create.

“Jazz (concerts) are so much different than anything else in the school to me,” Christianson said. “You turn your chair in the direction of the group that is performing and I don’t think that you are going to get that experience in any other place.”

Preparation and rehearsal for jazz band can be different from other groups at NW. According to Talley, the students have a say in what they play, how they want to play it and all of the mechanics of it.

“When my band performs, I trust them. I try to stay out of the way.” Talley said. “It’s better that way, it’s better to let them work. It’s a respect thing.”

This year, NW jazz band included professional trumpet soloist Jay Sollenberger. Sollenberger had never performed with the band before and Talley says that they had to be flexible in leaving space for Sollenberger’s solo.

Another student soloist, junior Sophia Hollman, has been a part of jazz band since her freshman year. Hollman has her own way of preparing herself before a performance.

“I get into this mindset that whatever happens during a performance happens,” Hollman said. “As long as I do my best to make music and have some fun, the performance will be great.”

Overall, Talley is delighted to see the variety in the showcase that the various schools provided and elated that the showcase spotlights the students abilities.