On Tuesday, February 4th, Great Valley’s Middle and High School Jazz Ensembles played a superb combined concert in the high school auditorium. Not just a fine evening of well-performed music, Jazz in the Valley also provided a wonderful opportunity for musicians early on their path to jazz mastery to connect with our more experienced jazz musicians: plenty of inspiration for the younger set, and a chance for the older set to be real role models.
While our middle schoolers have one Jazz Band, our high school now boasts three jazz ensembles: 3rdPeriod Jazz Band, 6th Period Jazz Ensemble, and the newly formed Competition Jazz Ensemble. All four ensembles require audition but the music teachers at both schools strongly encourage musical growth and opportunity.
Similar to the String Fest that our elementary, middle, and high school orchestras present annually, Jazz in the Valley featured each ensemble individually as well as one massive (and impressive) joint performance to conclude the show. Sean Hetzel, an 8thGrade trumpet player in the MS Jazz Band was asked some questions about the experience.
Q: Were you nervous about performing on the High School stage?
A: I wasn’t any more nervous than I would be for any other concert. However, I was nervous about my solo because I hadn’t performed it in public before.
Q. What was your favorite part of the concert / experience?
A: I am torn between actually performing and listening to the High School ensembles, especially the 6thPeriod Jazz Band. I really like performing for people and it brings me joy but listening to kids not much older than me perform exceptionally is inspiring.
Q: Is there anything you would change about the evening to make it better for the middle schoolers?
A: No, I think it was a great experience for middle schoolers and it should continue to stay the way it is.
Q: Do you think this joint concert is helpful for middle schoolers who may be on the fence about continuing to play music at the high school?
A: I personally was already certain that I want to continue playing music through high school since I had already met the director previously and my older brother is in 6thPeriod Jazz Ensemble and the Competition Jazz Ensemble. However, I understand that not all middle school musicians have the same experience with an older sibling as I do. The night was definitely a great experience and if I had been unsure about continuing in the music department at the high school, this concert would have been a positive influence in my decision.
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Jazz in the Valley is just one of many opportunities to appreciate our students’ and teachers’ talent, passion, dedication, and hard work. We’re already looking forward to next year!