Sunday, April 17, 2011

Jazz Unlimited Competition

I went to Pasco, Washington Friday and Saturday to chaperone the band trip there. We had 240 band students from three concert bands and two jazz bands going to compete in the competition. I went on this trip with Chris two years ago and swore I wouldn't do it again--the kids got a little out of hand at times--but my sentimental feelings of being the last time I would be able to chaperone a school trip won out and I'm glad I went. The kids were as well behaved as you could expect a group of high school students and they did a really good job in the competition. It was a long weekend though. We had to be at school at 0430 on Friday morning and got home about 2330 Saturday night. It is a four hour bus ride there. Fortunately we chartered buses and didn't have to ride on school buses.

While we were there, we took the opportunity to take a picture of the whole band and the seniors. A funny story was there was an elderly Japanese gentleman with a camera around his neck that kept trying to get into the pictures. He actually is in the picture with the entire band. When it came to taking a picture of the seniors though, we needed to get someone to help him out of the picture.

The concert band performances were on Friday. We made it just in time for the Concert Band to warmup and perform. So the kids were busy trying to get into their uniforms on the bus so they could make it in time. Then we listened to other high school bands as well as the Symphonic Band and the Wind Ensemble the rest of the day. There were 34 concert bands that participated in the festival. The Symphonic Band and the Wind Ensemble both got gold division awards in their respective divisions.

That evening, we went to a jazz concert that is part of the Jazz Unlimited Festival and heard the Columbia Basin College Jazz Ensemble and Wayne Bergeron-the guest artist trumpet player-play with the Columbia Basin Jazz Orchestra. His claim to fame is playing trumpet on the soundtrack for the movie, "Cars", as well as a lot of other TV and movie soundtracks. It was a very nice concert.

The jazz competition was on Saturday. There were 55 middle school and high school jazz bands competing so it was a very busy day. The competition was stiff. We often commented that we wouldn't want to be the judges and choose the winners of the awards. I spent all afternoon listening to various high school jazz bands. Then we listened to the Columbia Basin College Jazz Ensemble while we waited for all the scores to be tabulated and anxiously waited to see who was going to win the awards. It was very exciting for Mountain View. Jazz Band II won third place in the 3A Division. Jazz Band I got first place in the 4A Division and also won the best saxophone and trombone section awards. The band also won the 4A Outstanding Band Program award for the combination of the Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band I scores. It was a very successful weekend for the entire band.

We spent Saturday morning playing in the park next to our hotel in Richland. It is along the Columbia River and is in a beautiful setting. It also has a great playground area. The teenagers turn into little kids at the playground and kind of made it hard for the real little kids to play there. But they had a lot of fun for the hour and a half that they spent there. There will be more layouts coming of our time in the park so be on the look out for those in the next week or so.

All in all is was a great weekend but I am glad to be back home to some quiet after all the teenage chatter and music.

(The Polka Dot Pixels kit used in these layouts is called the Mercantile kit.)

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