Sun Prairie Jazz students put together a virtual big band recording for the 2020 Madison Area Music Association Awards. Students rehearsed on their own and spent time at Audio for the Arts in Madison to put the whole thing together. The recording was put together by having students work in isolation booths and lay down their parts individual and mixed into one. Through the work of the professionals at Audio for the Arts it sounds like the band was actually playing together!
While "distance learning" can certainly be stressful for all of us, what better way to relieve some stress than by exercising your creative side? As we have seen on the news, youtube, facebook and many other media of which I am not aware of, music can be a very therapeutic activity to engage in. Why not pursue online private jazz instruction?
The SPHS Jazz Ensemble played for a full house at the Cremer Auditorium at the Colonial on Thursday, February 20, 2020. The one hour show featured many big band classics by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Glenn Miller and others. Both musicians and audience members had a great time. It was said that this is the most popular program of the year and it felt like it
On Saturday, February 15, 2020 members of all three HS Jazz Ensembles, parents, volunteers and alumni came together with High School Bands from around the state and clinicians from around the country to participate in the 28th Annual Sun Prairie Jazz Festival - a Regional “Essentially Ellington” festival. The festival is a clinic by day and an awesome concert by night.
Participating bands in the morning received a 1 hour session with a group of three musicians/educators who were able to add their expertise on Reed, Brass, and Rhythm section issues. Throughout the lunch hour, students had the option to participate in a Jam Session followed by instrument specific master classes and jazz improvisation sessions.
The day culminated in an evening public concert featuring one of our guest clinicians performing with selected High School Jazz Ensembles. The last part of the concert was a jazz combo formatted performance featuring the days’ educators.
Reggie Thomas, piano; Clay Jenkins, trumpet and Dennis Mackrel, drum set were all alums of the Count Basie Orchestra. Bob Stewart, jazz tuba and “Essentially Ellington '' clinician has recorded with Charles Mingus and currently teaches Jazz History at the Juilliard Music School in New York. Each of our artists have similar stories. In addition to great musical pedigree, each of our musicians/educators was a genuinely caring teacher and collaborator who shared their passion for jazz with all who attended.
Sponsors of the Jazz Festival are the Sun Prairie Band Boosters, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Birch Creek Music Academy, the Shell Arts Center, and Ward Brodt Music.
Congratulations to all students who performed at the Annual "Holiday Big Band Dance" on Saturday, December 7 at the Angell Park Pavilion. The bands played to an enthusiastic crowd of dancers, listeners and paparazzi. The students have much to be proud of as their early morning pilgrimages to the CHUM and HS band rooms really paid off in a night of good music and fun. Our alumni also had a great time performing in the Alumni Big Band and sad to say we ran out of time for their alumni jazz combo to perform. Thank you to all who volunteered as well and especially our Jazz Chairperson, Mike Engleson. Happy Holidays!