Jazz program sweeps festival


Jazz performance in 2013. Photo by Morgan Berk

Justin Sutherland

Jazz performance in 2013. Photo by Morgan Berk
Jazz performance in 2013. Photo by Morgan Berk
While students enjoyed the intricacies of the popular Global Village food day, students in the RBHS jazz band, jazz ensemble and jazz combos were on a coach bus en route to their destination: the Northwest Missouri State Jazz Festival in Maryville, Mo.
After the judges tallied up the points and the placements were announced, the jazz program swept each category in which they participated. Jazz Ensemble placed first in Class 5, Jazz Band placed first in Class 4 and the combo placed first in the high school combo division. Senior Stephanie Bonham also was awarded the ‘best soloist’ award her performance in the Jazz Ensemble (Class 5) and the combo. Senior Andrew Selva says that the group did well and brought unity throughout the music.
“I felt like we performed at a really high level today,” Selva said, “and everyone was really in sync as a group.”
After coming onto the stage with strong confidence, Selva thought he had a personal best performance for the year because of this strong component. Secondarily, playing harder pieces this year also propelled the jazz students into their first place finishes, such as the jazz combo in which senior Daniel Shapiro plays trumpet, guitar and synthesizer.
“Daniel’s combo completely blew the judges away when they played a pro-level piece almost flawlessly,” Selva said.
Reflecting on the performance, Shapiro seemed fond of the overall performance, even though he felt he made more mistakes than he should have made.
“The ensemble was really tight, and everyone felt pretty comfortable,” Shapiro said, “and although our jazz combos had a couple of rough moments, we still played really well.”
With a strong show and lifted hearts, there are still improvements to be made such as ever-troublesome perfect timing and small specific notes, according to Selva. Shapiro added that their improvisation is also not up to par with the rest of the jazz ensemble’s sound.
“We have a couple people who are good at improvisation, but the improvisation skill itself doesn’t match our ensemble’s skill,” Shapiro said. “In comparison to the ensemble sound, it just doesn’t cut it.”
With the final “food day” long and gone and a night spent in a Northwest Missouri State dorm a day behind them, the jazz students still regretted not being able to participate in Global Village.
“I was really looking forward to all of the food and potentially helping out with the Iceland booth,” Selva joked, “but first place isn’t too bad in my books.”
By Justin Sutherland