Courtesy of Julian Gentiluomo
At the beginning of the 2021-2022 jazz season, it was hard to know what to expect. The West High jazz bands were not able to perform live last year because of COVID-19, leaving many jazz members feeling blue and a little sentimental for the 2019-2020 jazz season. Live performances, reliable rehearsals and an absence of anxiety about transmitting COVID-19 seemed like a dream. However, this year is a lot better than last year; both the Jazz Ensemble and the Symphonic Jazz Band got to perform in three competitions.
The Liberty Jazz Festival, hosted by Liberty High School, was held on Feb. 18. At this competition, the Jazz Ensemble placed 2nd in class 4A. The Symphonic Jazz Band placed 3rd in the second band class. The Coe College Jazz Summit – “Iowa’s Largest Jazz Festival” – was the very next weekend. At this competition, the Jazz Ensemble placed 1st in class 4A and the Symphonic Jazz Band did not place. The weekend after that was the Southeast Iowa Bandmasters Association (SEIBA) Jazz Festival, hosted by Davenport Central High School. At SEIBA, the Jazz Ensemble placed 1st in class 4A and the Symphonic Jazz Band placed 3rd in the second band class.
After 3 weekends of competitions one after the other, the bands get a short break until the Jazz Ensemble travels to the Iowa Jazz Championships in Ames on April 5.
Miles Davies, ’22, a clarinet and tenor saxophone player in the Jazz Ensemble, is excited to be back.
“Two years ago, Jazz Ensemble had a lot of amazing players. Since they all graduated and the rest of us hadn’t done jazz band for a long time, I was worried that we wouldn’t do very well. But as we’ve gotten back into the swing of things we’ve been able to make a lot of progress and have a lot of fun.”