Jazz Kicks Off Season

High School

Last year Jazz 1 (the varsity jazz band) won the Iowa Jazz Championship competition.  There is a different group of students in Jazz 1 this year, but this is Dameon Place’s second year directing the band.

Jazz band practices are three times a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. They practice from 7:10 to 8:10 and go through three different pieces. During practice they not only run through the music, but they also fix mistakes to make the music better.

With nine people who graduated and one who didn’t with continue jazz band, there were ten spots for new people to fill at the beginning of the school year.  However, according to sophomore Elise Beukelman, the group dynamic continues to be strong.

“Our entire group is like a close knit family. The entire band program is fun, peppy, close-knit, talented, with a little bit of edge and sass,” she elaborates.

According to Beukelman, it’s not all play and no work, but it isn’t as strict as other programs can be. Newton Yee, sophomore, agrees.

“The environment is pretty laid back.  We joke around and have fun, but at times we also take jazz seriously to make fixes, tweak stuff, etc. Our teacher, Mr. Place, is chill for the most part which makes jazz band a non-stressful environment,” said Yee.

Beukelman finds it stimulating to be part of a group with a common goal.

“I like jazz band because it is a thrilling experience to be a part of a group with similar interests who are working to better ourselves,” said Beukelman. “We all have the same goal, and that is to play music. I was also looking to learn how to play another saxophone, such as a Tenor or a Baritone, apart from my Alto.”

Yee has a similar outlook on things. “I joined Jazz band because of the music. I really like playing jazz music, especially with other great musicians in our school. Jazz band is even better when there are friends and a great teacher that make jazz band less drab and more exciting.”
Article by Brenna Hildebrand