In addition to the Concert Band program, we also offer instruction in jazz by way of two Jazz Ensembles. These groups rehearse twice each week outside of the regular timetable. Students learn the various jazz styles by performing a wide variety of repertoire. Enrollment is restricted and entrance into these ensembles is by audition. Successful students are then placed into either the Junior or Senior Jazz Ensemble according to ability.
Senior Jazz Ensemble:
The Senior Jazz Ensemble is an ensemble of musicians with an interest and experience in playing all kinds of jazz. Interested students should have at least one year experience playing jazz and must be current members of the Concert Band at their grade level. Audition material is posted on the school website. Rehearsals occur Tuesday and Friday mornings at 7am. As this is a small ensemble with players playing unique parts, regular attendance is essential.
The focus of the ensemble is in learning jazz style, tradition, and improvisation, with a focus on listening to discover the cultural context of the music we play. Evaluation will include playing tests, listening assignments, transcriptions, and jazz syntax. The members of the group will prepare large ensemble and combo repertoire for performance at both of the departmental concerts in December and April, at a music festival and the School Fair. The group will also work toward additional performance opportunities including auditioning for the Essentially Ellington Competition and other recording projects.
An in-house jazz retreat will occur early Term 1. This is an opportunity to benefit from the expertise of local jazz musicians and to establish a strong ensemble sense early in the year. It is a mandatory event for Jazz Band members.