2 Students Selected for All-State Jazz

Jason Wells, grade 10

Ridg Downs, grade 11

Congratulations to sophomore Jason Wells and junior Ridg Downs who were both selected for All-State Jazz. Jason Wells was selected as Lead Trumpet in the 2014 Iowa All-State Jazz Ensemble that will perform at the Iowa Bandmasters Convention on May 15. Ridg Downs was selected into the 2014 Iowa All-State Jazz Choir which will perform on July 21 at the Iowa Choral Associations Convention in Mason City.

Hundreds of students from across the state of Iowa audition for a spot in All-State Jazz Ensemble and Choir, but only a handful are selected to represent the best in the state.

Wells spent a month learning his etude audition piece before recording it for submission. Judging for All-State Jazz Ensemble is blind. Students are assigned a number and there is no name or picture associated with the audition piece. All decisions made are based solely on sound and musical quality.

“I recorded about 20 takes and then picked what I thought were the top three and then shared those with my instructor, Wayne Page, and asked him to pick the one he thought was best,” Wells said.

To make it into the All-State Jazz Choir Downs had to make it through two cut rounds where he was asked to sing major, minor and chromatic scales; a prepared piece by Bob Florence/Amos Hunter called Willow Crest; a self-selected solo piece by Sammy Chan called Time After Time and site read melodic and rhythmic excerpts from randomly selected musical pieces.

“I wanted to stand out in my solo piece so I added some improvs and used scatting technique,” Downs said.

This is the first year both Wells and Downs have tried out for positions in All-State Jazz.

“I plan on going into a field that will require auditions and I wanted to learn how to prepare and gain some experience with the process,” Downs said.

After some prompting by Page, Wells decided that auditioning would be a good experience as well.

Both Wells and Downs are involved in multiple musical activities at Waukee High School. Wells is a member of Jazz Band, Marching Band, Concert Band, Concert Choir, Show Choir and Jazz Choir. Downs is a member of Spring Musical, Show Choir, Jazz Choir, A Cappella, Concert Choir and Bass Clef Choir.

560 Southeast University Avenue
Waukee, Iowa 50263
Phone 515.987.5161
Fax 515.987.2701