First Place Finish at SCIBA Qualifies Jazz I for Iowa Jazz Championships

Row 1 left to right: Ross Clowser, Matt Mitchell, Madison Laird, Emily Bieker, Cassie Bell, Dustin Eubanks, Madison Anderson, Logan Cinnamon
Row 2: Erika Lewis, Mr.Page, Justin Page, Trevor Else, Patrick Cunningham, Grant Whitaker, Sebastien Mueller, Rachel Rinehart, John Akpan, Carter Youngblood.
Row 3: Karch Lathrop, Ashley Young, Jason Wells, Hailey Bieghler, Ben Halley

Waukee Jazz Bands had a very successful weekend at the SCIBA Competition on December 14. Waukee Jazz I competed against 15 bands to earn first-place in the class 4A title. Senior Patrick Cunningham on drums and vibraphone, senior Ross Clowser on guitar and junior Justin Page on alto-saxaphone received outstanding Musician Awards at the SCIBA competition. The first place finish qualifies Jazz I to perform at the Iowa Jazz Championships on April 8, 2014.

The Iowa Jazz Championships showcases 60 of the state’s finest high school jazz ensembles.  It is held in Des Moines every April and features 15 groups from each of the four Iowa high school classifications.  All ensembles perform in the daytime competition, and the top two bands from each classification perform in the evening finals competition.

Sometimes a music choice can be the difference between a first-place finish and not placing at all. This year, Jazz I performed three songs, So What, by John LaBarbera, Quintessence, by Quincy Jones and Sus It Out, by Jeremy Levy under the direction of band director Wayne Page.

“I start by looking at the talent within the band. Then I spend many hours listening to old and new recordings to find unique pieces that no other group is going to play and fits the students’ strengths and allows them to build and grow as musicians,” Page said.

“Sus it Out was my favorite to perform mainly because I have a large solo in it,” Ross Clowser said. “Solos are a chance to express my creativity and express myself musically with a big band supporting you. I try really hard to keep my solos authentic and spontaneous while staying in a set of parameters.”

Preparing for a jazz competition starts early. Students and Page began working on the performance pieces in August. Jazz 1 is made up of eighteen students: five on saxaphone, four on trombone, four on trumpet, two on drums, one each on bass, piano and guitar, who show up to practice every Monday, Tuesday and twice on Thursday to learn, grow and make music together.

With a state qualification under their belt, Jazz I is preparing for the rest of the competition season:

  • Jan 30 – Simpson College Jazz Festival (Indianola)
  • Feb 1 – IHSMA State Jazz Contest
  • Feb 8 – Jack Oatts Festival (Earlham), and/or Central College Jazzmania (Pella)
  • Feb 22 – Indianola Jazz Encounter (Indianola)
  • Mar 8 – Hoover Jazz Festival
  • Mar 11 – Jazz Showcase
  • April 8 – Jazz Championships

Congratulations to Jazz II, which received a first-place finish in the second band class and Jazz Project, which received third place in the second bands class.

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