Best high school jazz band players to come together for UW-Green Bay’s Jazz Fest | WLUK
GREEN BAY (WLUK) — For the first time ever, the best high school jazz band players from the Green Bay area are joining forces.
They’re performing Friday night at the Weidner Center as part of the 53rd UW-Green Bay Jazz Fest.
“I really like the idea of getting musicians who are really serious about what they do and trying to make something with one rehearsal and one performance,” said Hannah Beals-Romero, a senior at Notre Dame Academy who plans to attend St. Norbert College for music education.
About 20 students are included in the ensemble from eight Green Bay area high schools: Ashwaubenon, De Pere, Denmark, Green Bay East, Green Bay Preble, Green Bay Notre Dame, Pulaski, and West De Pere.
“I’m excited to see what we have to sample from all around the Green Bay area,” said Will Hess, a junior at Ashwaubenon who would also like to pursue music education.
“It’s fairly common to do in a concert band format, but at least in this area, it’s the first time anything like this has happened for jazz band,” said Steve Johnson, the band director at Notre Dame and a 2003 UW-Green Bay graduate.
Johnson says the students he nominated for this opportunity are his most dedicated.
“They show up early, they stay late,” said Johnson. “They’re involved with pretty much everything that we do.”
The idea of getting an all-city jazz band together for Jazz Fest has been in the works for a few years.
“It’s a little bit like playing professionally,” said Marc Jimos, the band director at Ashwaubenon High School. “You don’t get a lot of rehearsal, so you come in and you have to have a quick turnaround in learning to play music and stuff.”
Jimos would know. He plays professionally with Big Mouth & The Power Tool Horns, as well as with Broadway shows as part of the Fox Cities PAC pit orchestra.
“They’re always really I think surprised and impressed with the level of musicians that are in the area and I think that is a testament to the really strong universities that are around here,” said Jimos, who is a 1991 graduate from UW-Green Bay.
The hope is having collaborations like this will keep the area jazz scene strong for years to come.
“I think this is a really exciting idea and I’m really glad that this is the first of hopefully a tradition,” said Beals-Romero.
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