Jazz band ups tempo for Districts

Yasmeen Elsawaf

After two successful holiday shows, jazz band hit the ground running to prepare for February’s District Music Performance Assessment.

“We want to go to state this year,” band director Carol Allen said. “I won’t let us go if we don’t get straight superiors at districts.”

The band has chosen three songs to perform at districts and has already started practicing them and picking out things to improve on. Allen told the band that only the most dedicated students will go this year.

“It may be harsh, but it is worth it for the rest of the band,” Allen said. “I’m going to take the people who play the best. If someone does well on one song and not so hot on another, they will still go for the song that they did play right. I really want to see us go to state, and we can’t do it if everyone isn’t tight.”

Those who are at risk of not going to districts understand the necessity to only bring the best. Jim Balboni, a new bassist in jazz band this year, agrees with the decision.

“It seems logical,” Balboni said. “If your feelings are hurt, then you obviously didn’t try hard enough. We have the shows for everyone to play at, but we have MPAs to do well. If the band can do better with someone else, then it only makes sense to have the better person play.”

Balboni says that it is all worth it, even if he does not get to go to districts.

“I think jazz is a hard style to jump into, especially because I’m a big metal and rock guy. I’m not used to walking basslines and such, but it seems to get easier with time,” Balboni said. “I definitely think it’s helping me improve my playing on the electric and upright bass.”

Allen plans to make the most of the class time. The term “jazz band exam” is generally met with laughter from other students, but the band spent whole time practicing one song Thursday during their exam period. Allen noted significant improvement.

“It had really improved in the first few minutes,” Allen said. “By the time we had to leave, everyone knew what they had to fix. Hopefully they practice over break like I asked.”

By Nathaniel Curtis