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West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

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Ashlyn Brady
Features Editor

(she/her) Ashlyn is a junior and this is her second year on staff. She is the Feature Editor for the website this year. When she's not in the newsroom, you can find her curled up with a good book, hanging...

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Ninth Grade and Varsity band concert features Jazz Lab

Wednesday’s band concert was the first of the end-of-year band concerts. It concluded the year for the Ninth Grade Band, Varsity Band and Jazz Lab, especially for the seniors.
The+Varsity+Band+opens+with+Invicta+by+James+Swearingen.
Anna Greenlee
The Varsity Band opens with “Invicta” by James Swearingen.

The Ninth Grade and Varsity concert bands held a concert at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, May 15 in the Arganbright Auditorium. Jazz Lab, West High’s third jazz band, opened the concert.

Jazz Lab played “Blues for Tripod” by Rick Stitzel, “The Mask of the Chili Pepper” by Doug Beach and George Shutack and “Final Answer” by Lennie Niehaus. Many different students improvised solos, including Fern Fraer ’26, Mara Strand ’26, Gwen Smith ’26, Lea Abou Alaiwa ’27, Addison Long ’25, Veni Kotev ’26, Lovella Varner ’27 and Harper Ray ’27.

The band also included many students from other jazz bands, like trombonist-turned-saxophonist Michael Shonrock ’25 and saxophonist-turned-trombonist Maddux Neukirch ’27. Nathan Butler ’27, a concert flutist who plays baritone saxophone in Jazz Collective, learned trombone for the concert only a few weeks before.

Following Jazz Lab’s set, the Ninth Grade Band played “Quad City Stomp” by Michael Sweeney, “Rain” by Brian Balmages, “Uproar” by Michael Oare and “Pixar Movie Magic” arranged by Michael Brown.

The freshmen clapped and stomped to the beat of “Quad City Stomp,” then played family favorites from movies like “Toy Story,” “Ratatouille” and “Cars” in “Pixar Movie Magic.” Afterward, band director Brian Zeglis awarded the Leadership Award to Ashleigh Topp ’27 for being energetic and helpful to other band students.

After quickly changing the stage, the Varsity Band played “Invicta” by James Swearingen, “Of Endless Miles and Empty Rafts” by Michele Fernández and “Music for a Darkened Theatre: The Film Scores of Danny Elfman” by Danny Elfman and arranged by Michael Brown.

The Director’s Award was given to Lexie Vogt ’24 for being dedicated to the band program and enthusiastic in class. The new Medd Award, started in honor of former band directors Rich and Rob Medd, was given to Charles Nelson ’24. The award, along with a $500 scholarship, is given to one senior in each upperclassmen band who exemplifies the dedication and musicality of the Medds.

A live stream of the concert is available on West High’s YouTube channel, which also has archived streams of past band concerts. Follow West High bands on Facebook to keep up with future performances and other information.

The next band concert is the Symphonic and Wind Ensemble concert on Tuesday, May 21 at 6:00 p.m. in the Arganbright Auditorium. On Friday, May 24, West’s Jazz Collective and Jazz Ensemble will perform in the Friday Night Concert Series on the Ped Mall Stage at 6:30 p.m. The last band performance of the year is the Wind Ensemble’s performance with the Symphony Orchestra at West High’s graduation on June 2 at the Xtream Arena.

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About the Contributor
Anna Greenlee
Anna Greenlee, Graphics Editor
Anna is a sophomore in her first year on staff. She's the graphics editor for the WSS website, as well as part of the school's band, theatre and sophomore volleyball team. But on her off time, she likes to watch movies (which make her cry really easily), cook, bake, paint and go water- or snow-skiing with family.
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