Saturday, February 5, 2011

Jazz All State 2011 and Pancakes

Jazz All State 2011 is officially over!

Feb 3-5 (this past weekend) was the NHMEA Jazz All State Festival at Windham High School (WHS). I love attending Festivals and Conferences as it gets me fired up, re-charged , excited about my profession. Approximately 400 students from across the state auditioned for this unique festival (The Alvirne Music Dept. hosted this event back in October ) and 106 were accepted. Yes, there are not many Jazz All States in the country. Most Jazz is performed at State Festivals - New Hampshire is unique. This festival began approximately 30 years ago by a great visionary Richard Maynard and members of the New Hampshire Music Educators Association. I always learn or become aware of something; either a rehearsal technique, new tunes, approaches to old standards or like this weekend a clinic on Hearing Health Strategies for Music Education. How appropriate as in the FDF (Friends for a Decent Facility) that was brought up. Anyway, at a later date I will write a blog on that subject.
Continuing, I along with 10 of Alvirne's finest student musicians left right after school on Thursday to head out to Windham. We registered at the Holiday Inn in Salem, had a quick lunch then got to the festival about 4:15 p.m. There was registration, a meeting, rehearsals in designated locations until 9:00 p.m. Afterwards, students were shuttled back to the hotel by bus - I had the first duty which ended at 12:30 a.m. on Thursday and I am happy to report everything was GREAT!

Friday (Feb. 4) was a very busy and looooooonnnnnnggggg day beginning with an 8:00 am. breakfast at WHS, followed by rehearsals, clinics for directors, lunch, more rehearsals, more clinics, dinner, more rehearsals and culminating in an amazing concert at 8:00 p.m. featuring Michael Phillip Mossman & John Mastroianni Quintet. I want to say "Thank You" to Nick, Katie and Rob (AHS student musicians) for coming to the concert and special kudos to Mr. and Mrs. Inderbitzen! I know Nick was EXTREMELY inspired, and rightly so as he begins the audition process for music colleges.
9:30 p.m. Concert was over and back to the hotel. It was amazing how quiet everyone was. 11:00 p.m lights out and not a peep could be heard.

Saturday (Feb 5) 7:00 a.m. call for breakfast, pick up and luggage to WHS. Dress Rehearsals and then the major SMA (Student Mastery Assessment). Mr. Maclane would be happy! I must confess - I did get a chance during this time to drive over to Nashua at Applebees and partake of the Pancake Breakfast sponsored by the Alvirne High School Friends of Music and spear headed by our TRI - M Chapter - I can't wait to see the pictures!

Back to WHS and getting ready for a great concert series.

After the usual "quack, quack, quack" by the host, chairpersons etc the Jazz Choir under the direction of Dianne Mower from the Greater Hartford Academy for the Arts opened. Jazz Choir members Cassandra Strokus, Nick Masson, Eric Mealey and Peter Dubois treated us to Amazing Grace/Sermonette, Down for Double Down, Peace Waltz and the finale The Real Ambassadors. Nick entertained the audience with his solo in the Real Ambassadors and Cassie led the finale "shout" in Sermonette. Standing O - then it was Honors Jazz Choir time with Chris Humphrey.
Mr. Humphrey, a UNH music alum and good friend with our own Mrs. Beaton is the Director of Music for Cheverus High School in Maine. His resume truly reads as a who's who in Jazz Vocal Music and education. Our Honors Jazz Choir members were Devan Lyman, Samantha Migneault, Katherine Masson and Taylor Morin. Their selections were Home at Last, How Deep is your Love, Solitude (featuring our own Sam Migneault) and Words - a very moving piece.
Devan Lyman and Samantha Migneault were both recognized as top scorers on their respective voice parts again CONGRATULATIONS!

Oh yes, did I tell you another standing O - well deserved.

The NHMEA Jazz Band took the stage under the direction of John Mastroianni. Mr. Mastroianni is Director of Bands at Hall High School in Hartford Connecticut. Mr. Mastorianni has performed wth Mel Lewis, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, Smokey Robinson and the list goes on! The Jazz Band wowed the audience with Guataca City, Sister Sadie, Some Skunk Funk (my favorite) and Take the "A' Train.

Just when you thought the afternoon couldn't get any better! The NHMEA Honors Jazz Band under the direction of Michael Mossman took the stage. After reading Mr. Mossman's resume, the only thing I can tell you is go on line and check it out! One word IMPRESSIVE! I must admit I am a little partial to this group. Why - Brittany Decker was on Piano (Top Score) and Matt Sidilau,Trombone I (Top Score). The Honors Band opened up with Mia's Lamplight Foxtrot, followed by Hour of Darkness (written by Mr. Mossman recalling an argument he had with his wife - pretty funny story actually), Smoke Gets In Your Eyes - very Ellington ( I am so jealous) and La Fiesta. The best part of this festival was seeing Brittany and Matt grow in their improvising skills in such a short period of time. Mr. Mossman, obviously extremely talented and well established in the music industry (writing and recording) was very down to earth, nurturing, and had an uncanny ability to bring the best out of every student musician. My writing does not even come close to the experiences of this past weekend. Our students, Mrs. Beaton and myself were very fortunate to be part of such an exceptional event.

One last note (no pun intended) I would like to thank the band students who made it to the Jazz All State Concert this past weekend. Amanda, Lauren, Katie, Nick, John, Joan (AKA ISH) and Steve (did I forget anyone?)- I am very happy you had a chance to hear the 2011 All-State Jazz Concert, hopefully this will inspire you regardless if you want to make music a career. A very BIG THANK YOU to Mr. and Mrs. Inderbitzen. There are no words to express my personal gratitude to both of you and your support of our Alvirne Music Kids!

OK, Mrs. B said "It's time for supper" Oh boy, home cooked meal and I get to spend some quality time with my wife. Life is truly good!
Have a great weekend
Ciao,
Mr. B
PS - GO PACKERS!