On Thursday, December 2nd, CU Jazz Ensemble I took part in the first St. Vrain Jazz Festival. Seven high schools from the St. Vrain school district took part in the festival, which is in its inaugural year. The following high schools participated: Niwot, Erie, Frederick, Longmont, Silver Creek, Mead and Lyons. Niwot had two bands participate!
CU Jazz Ensemble I kicked things off with a performance for the students and directors, and then we broke into quick master classes by instruments, led by our students. This 30 minutes proved to be way too short, as the high school students were heard to say, “I wish we could have had even more time. We were learning so much!”
From that point on, each high school jazz band began a rotation with another school during which they performed a few tunes while the band and some of our students listened, and then the band received a short clinic on stage from CU Jazz I members. Then, the other high school would perform and receive feedback. When not performing, the groups rotated into an improvisation clinic featuring faculty member Brad Goode and CU Jazz Combo I members, or into a 30-minute ensemble technique clinic, during which topics ranging from articulation, balance, ghosted notes, and applying to colleges were covered.
All the bands did a terrific job, and it was awesome to have our students get a chance to interact with the students of the St. Vrain district! During the after-festival pizza dinner, feedback was positive and enthusiasm was high!
We thank the directors and students of the St. Vrain district for allowing us to be involved in this year’s event, and hope that we can continue our participation in the future!
All in all, a fantastic day!
PHOTO: CU Master's student Ed Breazeale and CU Jazz students and faculty conduct a session on improvisation.