Congrats to Sun Prairie JAZZ 1 being selected as an Essentially Ellington Finalist for 2018!!
Click on the "Donate" button below to help get them there.
Sun Prairie Jazz Links:
Sun Prairie High School Jazz I:
Sun Prairie High School Jazz II:
Sun Prairie High School Jazz III:
25th Annual Sun Prairie / Essentially Ellington Regional Jazz Festival a success!!
On Saturday, February 17, 2018 the Sun Prairie Band Boosters with generous support from Jazz at Lincoln Center, Ward Brodt Music and both the Birch Creek and Shell Lake jazz camps presented the 25th Annual Sun Prairie Jazz Festival, which for the past 6 years has also been a regional "Essentially Ellington" festival.
To learn & see more - go to the Sun Prairie JazzFest Page
Congrats - SPHS Jazz 1 invited to Essentially Ellington 2018!
2018 Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival Finalist Bands
We are proud to announce the finalists of the 2018 Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival. We received submissions from many talented ensembles and it was a truly difficult decision. Listed in alphabetical order, they are:
Agoura High School (Agoura Hills, CA)
Ballard High School (Seattle, WA)
Beloit Memorial High School (Beloit, WI)
Carroll Senior High School (Southlake, TX)
Champaign Central High School (Champaign, IL)
Dillard Center for the Arts (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Mountlake Terrace High School (Mountlake Terrace, WA)
Newark Academy (Livingston, NJ)
Newton South High School (Newton, MA)
Osceola County School for the Arts (Kissimmee, FL)
Roosevelt High School (Seattle, WA)
Sun Prairie High School (Sun Prairie, WI)
Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble (Raleigh, NC)
Tucson Jazz Institute (Tucson, AZ)
William H. Hall High School (West Hartford, CT)
Jazz I plays "A Day for Seniors" at Colonial Club
The third Thursday in February is always one of the most anticipated concerts of the year - the "A Day for Seniors" concert at the Colonial Club! The Colonial Club hosts this annual event featuring the SPHS Jazz Ensemble I. The band plays an hour long set for senior citizens from all around Sun Prairie - it is always their best attended event of the year. The concert is great in that it bridges the generations from High School students to senior citizens. Once again, a great time was had by all!
Jazz II travels to New Trier Jazz Festival
On February 3rd, Jazz II traveled to the the 35th annual New Trier jazz festival and performed as an ensemble as well as attended clinics and concerts. The band performed “Front Burner”, “Almost Cried”, and “Rockabye River” for clinician Reggie Thomas. Reggie spent a fast 45 minutes working with the band, helping to deepen their concepts of swing and listening. He helped the rhythm section and soloists interact more with each other as the music needs to be a conversation between everyone, and it should definitely not be a dull conversation. Soon after, Reggie jumped behind the drumset, and called out how the drummer is really the conductor of the band, and it is the their job to tell everyone how fast or slow to go or how loud and soft to play. Finally, Reggie helped all of the students feel comfortable with the positive energy of their own sound.
Now dinner might not seem like a important portion of the festival, however for the first time, New Trier hosted a Women In Jazz Dinner! None of us are blind to the reality that the jazz world includes too few women, and that the young women in our ensembles have many fewer opportunities to see themselves in the musicians they admire. So this year, it was a goal of the festival to bring in numerous women clinicians. Clinicians Tanya Darby, Jo Ann Daugherty, Katie Ernst, and Alexa Tarantino not only gave clinics throughout the day, but were invited to be a part of a dinner panel, where they told their stories and answered student based questions about the difficulties and triumphs of being a woman in jazz.
Overall, a very good day in Illinois!
Sun Prairie Annual Big Band Dance - Saturday Dec. 2
Ron Carter brings the Art of Swing to SPHS!
He also mentioned that the key to Duke Ellingtons' music was to be sure that no two accents were the same. He was looking for balance and conversation in all parts of the band. Another major point he brought up was singing along with the original recordings and recording yourself the better hear what you are playing. Playing jazz is like cooking: listening to recordings and singing is like cooking from the recipe in the cookbook and then as you get to know the recipe you start to add some of your own spices to make your cooking personal. Just like playing jazz, learn to emulate the recordings of the masters and then make it personal by adding things you have heard and transcribed in the listening process.
Always great to have Ron Carter in the house....
About SPHS Jazz:
The Sun Prairie High School Jazz Ensemble Program consists of three performing jazz ensembles as well as multiple jazz combos. The bands meet as an extracurricular activity two to three times per week from October through March, student run sectionals. The Jazz Ensembles include students in grades 10-12 and all jazz students must also perform in the concert band. All bands perform concerts locally and host an annual big band dance in December.
The SPHS Jazz Ensemble I has traveled throughout the Midwest and Germany and have earned numerous awards and performed at several conventions, including the Midwest Clinic with Wynton Marsalis. The band has been recently featured statewide at the Martin Luther King celebration in Madison and the Mary Lou Williams tribute concert, also held in Madison. They have been an “Essentially Ellington” finalist in New York eight times, placing third three times.
Over the past several years students of the ensembles have had the opportunity to host and interact with great jazz musicians at SPHS. A partial list includes:
as well as mentors
The band also hosts its annual Sun Prairie JazzFest during February attracting bands from across the state and clinicians from across the country.