Jazz Band competes at Northshore Jazz Festival

On Saturday, Jan. 24, Jazz Band One, Jazz Band Two and Jazz Band Combo traveled to Glenbrook South High School to perform at the North Shore Jazz Festival. Band won numerous awards and three students went home with soloist awards. Jazz Band Two earned a Division One Rating and second place in class, while the Jazz Combo earned a Division One Rating and took home the first place award. Jazz Band One earned a Division One Rating, first place in Class AA and the Grand Champion Award as the best jazz band of the day. Numerous students won awards for their outstanding performances. Paul Wagner and Anthony Gonzalez, juniors, and Eugene Yakobovich, senior, each won soloist awards. “To be honest, I wasn’t paying attention when they were announcing awards because I didn’t think I would win one,” Wagner said. “Once my name was called, the people around me started cheering and clapping and I had no idea what was going on and did not know what I won. Once I realized what was going on, I had a sense of accomplishment and joy because I won the award.” Despite the success of the band, the point of performing at festivals and other events is to learn by doing rather than just win awards. “They learn a lot about playing great music,” Brian Logan, band director, said. “Our program is unique. It is a wide variety of music.” Band uses the opportunities to attend and perform at Festivals like this to focus on learning. They perform for four judges, three of which provide feedback and comments. The fourth judge works close with the band on what they thought they could do better. Yakobovich was awarded a scholarship to Birch Creek, a music camp in Door County, WI. For two weeks here, he will be able to work with band experts on bettering his talent and furthering his career as a musician. “I attribute a lot of my success to Brian Logan,” Yakobovich said. “He gave me the honor of featuring on our second song, ‘Body and Soul’ which is a ballad as well as letting me solo on the last tune called ‘Turkish Bath.’ He gave me the opportunity to give it all I got and that is exactly what I did.” Each member of band worked extra hours to prepare for their performances. They did this by working together, staying after school and going to practice rooms. “Dedication and repetition contribute to success of any kind whether it’s lifting for sports or training for a debate tournament,” Wagner said. “I also give credit to Eugene as he is a leader and innovator in my eyes. He motivates me to get better and play at a higher level. Mr. Logan thinks band is successful because of their dedication to the entire program. “Our success directly reflects the work that goes into it,” Mr. Logan said. “We have good private teachers, we have terrific feeder programs, Holmes, London and MacArthur send us really good kids. We start with our kids playing at a really good level. I think we do a good job providing opportunities to reach for more.” In the end, Mr. Logan hopes that the students learn from their success and gain skills for the future by playing these festivals and concerts. ”The amount of educational…opportunities that exist by playing Jazz and playing Concert music and even part of marching band, I think it is limitless,” Mr. Logan said. “Our kids, they go after it. They are hungry to go ahead and do well which means play well, not win awards.”-Chris Alverado