CHS Jazz Band 1 wins their division at Reno Jazz Festival

The members of CHS Jazz Band 1, Jazz Band 2 and the Jazz Choir recently returned from competing at the Reno Jazz Festival, where Jazz Band 1 won their division. Photo by Pete Nelson

By Gini Davis
Creswell High School Jazz Band 1 won first place in their division, a number of individual instrumentalists and vocalists earned Outstanding Musicianship/Soloist awards, and CHS Music Director Sandi Green also received accolades from the adjudicators during the large, prestigious Reno Jazz Festival, held April 27-30 in Reno.
CHS Jazz Band 2 and the CHS Jazz Choir also competed under Green’s direction but did not place.
Competing in the Class C High School Division, CHS Jazz Band 1 performed “What’s Your Story Morning Glory,” featuring vocal and tenor sax solos by Matt Foster and a vibraphone solo by Justin O’Reilly; “Moon River,” with solos by O’Reilly on trumpet and Katie Culp on piano; and “Sing, Sang, Sung,” with a clarinet solo by Blake Nelson and a drum solo by Tyler Cook.
Judges praised the group’s musicality, noting that the group sounded like a whole band rather than just individual instruments.
Outstanding Musicianship awards went to Nelson, who plays alto sax and clarinet, and lead trumpet Hannah Williams.
Green also received an award as an exceptional educator. “We never do this, but we have to give one to your director,” adjudicators said.
Competing in the Apprentice 1 Division, against schools up to 4A in size, Jazz Band 2 performed “Mellow Bit of Rhythm,” featuring solos by Andrew Spriggs on trumpet and Korynn Fitzjarrell on tenor sax; “Haitian Fight Song,” with solos by Aubrie Hatch on upright bass, Freya DeMasters on tenor sax, Izzy Ramirez on bari sax, James Burgess on alto sax, Spriggs on trumpet and Zach Wichman on drums; and “Honk,” with solos by James Burgess on alto sax and Zach Schmidt on guitar.
Judges commented on the group’s progress in “learning to work together as a cohesive unit” and their work with soloists, and again praised Green as an excellent educator.
Soloist Awards went to Fitzjarrell and Hatch.
Competing in the Single A Division, the CHS Jazz Choir performed “Fly Me to the Moon,” with solos by Allie Bagenski, Shilo Drago and Destin Halvorson; “Baby Close Your Eyes,” with a solo by Foster; and “Mr. PC,” featuring a “duel” between vocalist Foster and clarinetist Nelson and solos by Mazie Halvorson, Wichman and Drago.
Judges complimented the arrangement of “Mr. PC,” which was arranged by Green.
Nelson and Foster each received an Outstanding Musicianship medal for their musical duel (Nelson on clarinet, Foster on vocals) on “Mr. PC,” and Soloist Awards also went to Bagenski and Drago.
Students also attended a clinic with arranger, educator and performer Kerry Marsh.
In their off time, the Creswell group – consisting of 42 kids, one music director, three chaperones and two non-chaperone parents – also spent a few hours exploring Virginia City, visiting antiques shops, taking old-time photographs, sampling homemade fudge and checking out gift shops and museums.
They also went to Circus Circus to enjoy a few hours of food, fun, games and performances. The senior musicians and vocalists also managed to slip away from the larger group, with a chaperone, to execute a couple of harmless pranks.
“It was an amazing trip, full of great memories, wonderful jazz music and another festival under their belts,” said Creswell Music Booster President Mandy Hoggard. “Creswell Music Boosters provided delicious home-cooked meals, fresh fruits and veggies and plenty of snacks for both buses on the way to the festival and back home. It’s amazing what can be done with plenty of helping hands, crockpots, electric roasters, extensions cords and in-room refrigerators.”