The jazz band competes at Northwest College for the annual Jazz Festival
The jazz band practices for its performance.
The jazz band practices for its performance.
Michelle Johnson

On Feb. 27th, the PHS jazz band performed at the annual Northwest College Jazz Festival.

This festival is an all-day, non-competitive convention that gives students and groups of all ages the chance to show off their hard work and skills. 

“I think the band’s performance was excellent,” student teacher Mr. Maclin Wiley said. “They brought an energy and sound that was a surprise during the performance, and I was proud of what the judges were presented with.” 

The festival takes place every year at the college and invites judges and well-respected jazz educators from around the country to come and give their wisdom and insight into the groups’ performances.

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“We got to meet with a judge during our clinic,” sophomore Janicia Ramirez said. “He helped us not only with our sound ranges, but also reminding us that everyone has a part that should stand out, and just like the part, so should the players themselves.”

The performances are graded on a 1-3 scale with a 1 being the best. This year, the high school band scored three 2s for all three of their songs.

“My philosophy of paying attention to details was validated because the judges were obviously looking for those details,” band director Mr. John Fabela said. “My goal for next year will be to really focus on the details and make sure we have an outstanding complete performance.”

Though it’s not a competition, being scored a 1 is an extremely impressive and honorable recognition that means you are good at or have mastered important jazz skills. These skills include, yet aren’t limited to, articulation, balance, rhythm, dynamics, intonation, and overall style and emotion of the song.

“We’re definitely not Jazz Catz level,” senior Liam Atkinson said. “But overall, there are a lot of things that we can work on like style, rhythm, and definitely sound.”

The festival is open to the public and is a great way to enjoy local music. There’s an end-of-the-day jazz concert featuring college student performers that wraps up the whole festival you can pay to enter as well.

“I honestly cannot wait for the next year to come,” Ramirez said. “Each year is a new festival and a new set of songs for all of us to enjoy. It is amazing to see how far the PHS jazz band has grown and how we continue to bring our community together with the sound of jazz.”

This festival is the biggest performance for PHS jazz members, and it truly shows all the hard work they put in throughout the year.

“My biggest takeaway was how the band put on such a great performance with what was ultimately a limited amount of rehearsals,” Wiley said. “I was very impressed with the style and musicianship the band presented.”

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