|Sun Prairie Band Boosters|
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.
After an 11 month hiatus, we were able to get the rhythm section together for some work in the band. Members stayed socially distant and wore masks, but were able to come together and play with other people in a live format for the first time this year.
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?