Jazz band perform on Feb. 7

Monica Reida/Staff Writer

Before most Cedar Falls High School students are even arriving at school, the Jazz One band, under the direction of band teacher Kyle Engelhardt, is preparing for its concert on Feb. 7 and the contests that it participates in.

“I like playing professional literature with high school students. It’s a great opportunity for them to explore the music out there,” Engelhardt, a trumpet player himself, said.
In addition to the love of the music itself, several of the students enjoy the fun they have making music as a group.

“There’s nothing like playing music with a group of people, and I probably won’t get that experience after high school,” senior second trumpet player Rhys Talbot said.

All of the members of Jazz One are also members of one of the band ensembles, while one member of the other jazz group, Jazz Too!, which is directed by band teacher Gerald Ramsey, is a member of orchestra.

“It’s fun to play a more relaxed style of music instead of the classical stuff,” sophomore baritone saxophone player Louis Redfern said.

Some of the musicians see the practical application of participating in jazz band.
“I could make money doing it when I grow up,” said senior bass trombone player Steve Ramsey, who has been in jazz bands since seventh grade.

The band has received Division I ratings for more than 20 consecutive years, which was continued on Jan. 31 when Jazz One received Division I ratings in sight reading and performance — a tradition started long before Engelhardt started leading the group.

“Our main goal is to play and perform to our best. I like to encourage students to develop into great soloists and for the students and the band to have a great time playing,” Engelhardt said.
The pieces being performed this year are “You Got It” by Frank Foster, “A Walkin’ Thing” by Benny Carter and “Tall and Lanky” by Jeff Coffin. The members of the group view the pieces with great enthusiasm.

“We’re swingin’ easy and funking hard,” senior first trumpet player Michael Miller said. “I enjoy the songs; they’re a great mix.”

Talbot described one song as the jazz equivalent of a headbanger, while Redfern said that another is a bit mellow.

The jazz show will begin at 5 p.m. on Feb. 7 in the Claire C. Stanard Auditorium.

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