Waukee Jazz I Prepares for State
Waukee Jazz 1 is hoping to finish their record-breaking year with another state competition win on April 18. Jazz 1 will be defending their championship title at 2:15 p.m. at the Civic Center located at 221 Walnut St, Des Moines, IA 50309.
Jazz I is directed by Wayne Page and is an all-year activity that starts in August and ends in April. Throughout the school year, students attend various competitions. This December, Jazz 1 competed at SCIBA, where they qualified for state. They will be competing against 15 schools from across the state to win this year’s championship title.
Jazz 1 will perform a set of four songs, without any breaks, at the state competition. They will start with a swing tune called “Tri-Bop,” by Bill Liston and then transition to a ballad called “Until Then, Farewell,” by Ryan Cullen, followed by a guitar feature called “Pensativa,” by Mike Crotty and end with “Rhythm-A-Ning,” by Thelonious Monk arranged by Paul McKee.
The band has put in a lot of practice hours and hard work to get this far. Jazz I rehearses every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday morning from 7-7:45 a.m. Competitions are on Saturdays, so during the week of a competition they have a double rehearsal and meet Thursday nights from 7-8:45 p.m. Individually, students practice about four to five times a week for approximately an hour each time.
“Jazz Band is an intense activity, but it’s the passion all of the musicians have that make it fun and competitive. Music is lifelong and something we can carry with us even out of high school,” Senior Zoe Scheve, Jazz I trombone player, said. “I love the passion Mr. Page has for the music and the band. He cares about making us better musicians and not just about winning competitions.”
For many of these students preparation for band starts well before the secondary level. Senior Maddie Novenhoven started playing the piano in first grade. When she had an opportunity to join Eason’s fifth grade band, she decided to learn to play the trumpet. Maddie first auditioned for Jazz I as a freshman and has spent the last four years as a member of the band.
“Early introduction to music is important because it not only teaches you how to read music, but it has introduced me to a great group of friends and allowed me to be a part of community,” Maddie said.
Senior Beth Levalley also enjoyed an early introduction to music. She, too, started with piano and started playing the trumpet to join the Eason fifth grade band. Beth played the trumpet in Jazz II for two years and is finishing her first year in Jazz I.
“Music helps us with our academics because it teaches us time management. You even have to use math to keep up and understand the rhythms. Everything we learn is able to be tied back to music,” Beth said.
Waukee High School offers three audition bands in which students may be involved: Jazz I, Jazz II and Jazz Project. Students in grades 9-12 are eligible to audition for a position in these bands. Jazz I is an extra activity and participants are required to also be members of Concert Band which is a class offered at Waukee High School and Prairieview.