|Sun Prairie Band Boosters|
SPHS Jazz I open for the DSJO presentation of Duke Ellington's Nutcracker. The performance was at the historic Garver Feedmill in Madison. The building has been renovated to accommodate a variety of events - including music performances.
Students performed a 30 minute set before the DSJO took the stage. What a great evening to get out, perform for a live audience in a really cool and historic venue!
Ron Carter made is annual trip to Sun Prairie and mentored students in the Sun Prairie Jazz Program. Spending time with the CHUMS Jazz Band, as well as Sun Prairie Jazz I and II and working on the fundamentals of Swing. Professor Carter challenge students to play more emotionally and dig deeper and deeper into the rich history and tradition of this music.
Students responded really well to his passion and saw immediate growth in their playing. We are fortunate to have Ron stop out and continue to work with our groups on a yearly basis. His long-standing friendship with the Sun Prairie Jazz Program continues to help our students grow.
Reggie Thomas and Rick Haydon visited us in rehearsal to provide a jump start to the school year and ignite some passion in music. Both talked about what brought them into music and how they keep that spark going to this day. Rick took the guitars out for a master class in rhythm-style guitar playing in a big band. Reggie worked with the rest of the band on basic swing concepts as well as providing some twists in our warm-up.
Both Reggie and Rick have been mentors and friends to this program for many years. Having them back to work with students felt really meaningful for students. They bring a passion and earnestness to the students that challenges them to engage into this music on deeper and deeper levels.
The Annual Sun Prairie Jazz Festival embraced a new format for this year. As the pandemic has limited how we can all interact as musicians our sessions went virtual to allow the festival to continue.
Throughout the afternoon students were able to access eleven sessions including masterclasses on each instrument, and several jazz improvisation sessions. Clinicians included Reggie Thomas-piano, Rick Haydon-guitar, Jeff Campbell-bass, Jim Huwe-drums, Doug Stone-saxophone, Eric Jacobson-trumpet, and Steve Horne-trombone. Improvisation sessions included "Finding Lyricism through the Blues" with Reggie Thomas, "Stepping Stones: Strategies for Internalizing Tunes" with Doug Stone, "Jazz Patterns: A Systemic Approach to Improvisation," with Eric Jacobson, and "Improvising on the Drum set" with Jim Huwe.
We were joined by students from West DePere High School, Fond du Lac High School, Cedarburg High School, Oak Creek High School and Sun Prairie High School and Cardinal Heights. This was a great day of digging deeper into our craft, and we are looking forward to a live festival next year.