Jazz bands get festive


Jazz ensemble students, including junior Vivian Scott (right, standing), practice a piece.

In one of their first events since coming back from spring break, the jazz band and jazz ensemble, led by Band Director Nathan Griffin, attended the Lindenwood Jazz Festival on Saturday, Apr. 9.

According to Mr. Griffin, the jazz festival was an event for band students to show off their own skills and get feedback from their peers and a few other notable individuals.

“We perform a set number of songs at the festival. The festival brings in three or four professional jazz musicians from across the nation who judge our performance. After the performance, we have a clinic with one of the judges for about half an hour,” Mr. Griffin said. “This is basically time where they try to make us better and rehearse with us. We also get feedback from the other judges. It’s a great time to perform in a beautiful setting and to get feedback from professionals.”

In terms of how it went, Mr. Griffin believed that the festival went extremely well and was proud of how his students performed.

“It went really well. It was a little different from what we’re used to here at school with mics and lighting,” Mr. Griffin said. “We don’t have as much of that here, so it can shellshock some of the students, but they still performed well.”

Junior Vivian Scott, who is a member of jazz ensemble, backed up this argument, stating she and her fellow bandmates tried hard to do well at the event and succeeded despite some difficulties.

“I think it went well. It wasn’t our best performance because we were a bit taken aback by the stage and lighting being so different from what we’re used to, but I think we were able to adapt to it fairly quickly,” Scott said.

With this out of the way, the bands are now preparing for several events. According to Mr. Griffin, these include final concerts and performances for most of the bands.

“The next thing is the UMSL Jazz Festival for jazz ensemble. Then, we have concerts at Touhill on May 4 and 5. Those are huge concerts,” Mr. Griffin said. “Also, on Apr. 26, we have our Night of Percussion for our percussion ensemble. Guitar ensemble is performing there as well. Finally, we have several end-of-the-year concerts.”

With more than 75 percent of the school year over, the various bands prepare for their final quarter of the 2015-2016 school year.