Jazz one takes eighth place at Jazz Championship in Ames

After a second place finish at the NEIBA Jazz Festival in early March, jazz band one placed eighth at the Iowa Jazz Championships, held at CY Stephens Auditorium in Ames on Tuesday, April 4. “We have a tradition of excellence,” director Kyle Engelhardt said. “Through hard work and consistent effort to play quality literature, our jazz program continues to thrive over the years.”

“I feel like we had our best performance all year at Jazz Champs,” junior trumpeter Gina Mueterthies said. “We switched out one of our songs in with something new and I think that it really added to our set.”

“I’m very proud of how jazz one played at Jazz Champs this year,” senior trombonist Jack Dunning said.  “Although I was admittedly nervous, playing with great friends makes for a laid back, chill environment on stage, and I definitely felt that at Champs.”

While Jazz Champs provided an opportunity for jazz one to perform and compete, it also marked the end of the season for the band and the end of an era for the band’s seniors.

“I will miss the atmosphere and the people. Jazz band is a place where everyone can be who they are without being judged, and that is so important, especially in high school,” senior saxophonist Alexis Hahn said. “Everyone respects one another at jazz band, and we all appreciate everyone’s unique talents. Jazz band was a highlight of my high school experience, and I am truly thankful for Mr. Engelhardt and all of the members who made it so memorable.”

Dunning also reflected on his time in the band. “Playing in college will be fantastic, but no matter where I go, I’ll never forget the memories and friends that I made in my time playing with jazz one at the high school.”

For the younger members, many are excited to see what next year brings.

“Sure, I’ll miss playing with the seniors because they are awesome people, but it will be a lot of fun to play with the kids coming in,” sophomore trombonist Noah Rouw said. “There is a lot of talent down at the junior highs coming in, and it will be a lot of fun to play with them over the next two years.”

“I’m excited to continue making great music with Mr. Engelhardt and my friends,” junior pianist Zhuoqi Tong said. “I’m even more excited to explore jazz improvisation next year.”

“I’m looking forward to seeing how the band changes next year,” Mueterthies said. “We’re losing quite a few seniors, and it’ll be interesting to see what our strengths are with new members as well as what we’ll be able to improve upon as a different group.”

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