Jazz ensemble performs well at conference


The jazz ensemble performs during a rehearsal performance for students during sixth hour on Jan. 26. The next day, the ensemble would perform at the Missouri Music Educators Association Conference.

After months of preparation, several student bands from all over Missouri came together and played at the 2016 Missouri Music Educators Association Conference. Among them was FHC’s jazz ensemble headed by Band Director Nathan Griffin.

The band travelled to the conference on Wednesday, Jan. 27. While the conference lasted until Jan. 30, the band, along with most other student groups from other schools, came back on Jan. 28. However, according to Mr. Griffin, during their short stay, they were able to do quite a bit while they were there.

“We got there a little early, so we got to see a little bit of the conference itself, and that was neat,” Mr. Griffin said. “They performed for about 25 minutes by themselves. They did about four songs.”

According to junior Vivian Scott, the students felt a range of emotions leading up to the conference and their performances.

“I was nervous because of how important of a performance it was, but I think that we practiced a lot for it, so I was prepared for it and a little excited,” Scott said.

Regarding his students’ performance, Mr. Griffin was extremely proud of his students, citing the responses from both himself, the students themselves, and even some of the other conference-goers.

“I think we did great. The kids had a good feeling from doing it and got a lot of positive feedback from other band directors and professional jazz musicians regarding their performance,” Mr. Griffin said.

Scott also believes that the performance was an overall success and praised her group’s hard work.

“I think that it went really well. There were some rough parts during the performance, but I think that we did a really good job otherwise,” Scott said.

Despite the fact that being invited to the MMEA Conference is rare honor, Mr. Griffin is confident that another band from FHC will be able to attend some time in the future.

“My hopes are very high. Doing programs and performances like this can shine the spotlight on our bands and our program, which can help it to grow, so I’m very hopeful of this happening as we grow,” Mr. Griffin said.

However, according the rules of the conference, Mr. Griffin said that the jazz ensemble will not be invited back for a few years.

“The rules say that a band can’t perform at the conference for four years after participating, so jazz ensemble won’t be able to submit an application to perform for four years. However, other bands from our school can,” Mr. Griffin said.

With the conference over, jazz ensemble is preparing for a variety of other activities and events. Mr. Griffin said that many of these are happening soon.

“We’re going to be learning some new material. In three weeks, we have a district night of jazz, and the week afterward is a jazz festival at Francis Howell North,” Mr. Griffin said. “We are probably going to have around two performances a month for a while.”

With one more performance over with, the jazz ensemble is ready to tackle the new material and prepare for whatever they will do next.