On November 13, 2019 the SPHS Jazz Ensemble I played a brief opening set just prior to the feature performance of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis at Overture Hall in Madison.
The Sun Prairie Band arrived at the Overture Center in time to listen to the J@LCO sound check which concluded with a brisk performance of "Braggin In Brass" with an extended solo by Wynton Marsalis. Immediately following our students took the stage for their sound check and were joined by J@LCO trumpeter, Kenny Rampton. After the sound check, the band stored their instruments in their dressing rooms downstairs at the Overture Center and walked over to Ian's Pizza for dinner. While there, members of the Beloit HS Jazz Ensemble arrived as well and wished our musicians the best.
After dinner, the band listened to Daren Steruds' Jazz Ensemble in the lobby of the Overture Center and then headed downstairs to warm up. The band met Kenny Rampton backstage and headed to the mainstage at 7:30. They were introduced by Mr. Rampton and opened their two tune set with Ellington's "Black and Tan Fantasy". They were then joined by Mr. Rampton on "Portrait of Louis Armstrong" from Duke's New Orleans suite. The nearly sold out audience gave a very warm reception to the bands' performance. The Lincoln Center band then played two wonderful sets showcasing the many talents of the band and especially Wynton Marsalis.
At the conclusion of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Performance, members of both bands interacted downstairs and exchanged hugs and compliments. The evening concluded with Wynton talking to students from both Sun Prairie and Beloit about the importance of music and community, especially in these tense times. Wynton began his remarks by complimenting many individual performances of the Sun Prairie students from earlier in the evening.
A very memorable and special evening for our students.