Subscribe now for free! JAZZed. CLICK HERE to signup now!

Swing Central Jazz Announces Twelve High School Jazz Bands To Participate In Savannah Music Festival

Jazzed Magazine • News • December 14, 2016

Share This:

swingcentralsavannahlogoTwelve of the nation’s top high school jazz bands have been selected to participate in the eleventh annual Swing Central Jazz High School Jazz Band Competition & Workshop, an event produced by the Savannah Music Festival (SMF). Renowned jazz pianist/composer/educator Marcus Roberts leads a group of more than 20 esteemed musicians/educators as SMF’s Associate Artistic Director, along with Swing Central Jazz Associate Director and trumpet player Jim Ketch, Director of Jazz Studies at UNC Chapel Hill.

Participating students work with jazz masters across three days, perform in the “Jazz on the River” showcase on Savannah’s River Street, play in competition rounds, and attend a variety of SMF performances during their stay, which takes place from March 29 through 31, 2017. “This was a fantastic group of applicants. These young people and their teachers represent the best in high school jazz in America today,” says Associate Artistic Director Marcus Roberts. “Leading Swing Central Jazz is one of the most important things I do. Year after year we hear from educators and students that our innovative approach to big band jazz is creating better musicians and stronger jazz programs across the country.” 

In 2017, the nationally recognized Swing Central Jazz program features the following bands going head-to-head for $13,000 in cash awards:

  • Agoura High School Jazz “A” Band, directed by Bob Hackett (Agoura Hills, CA)
  • Bellevue High School Jazz Ensemble I, directed by Edd George (Bellevue, WA)
  • Byron Center High School Jazz Orchestra, directed by Marc Townley (Byron Center, MI)
  • Cedar Ridge Jazz Ensemble I, directed by Josh Cvijanovic (Hillsborough, NC)
  • Champaign Central High School Jazz Ensemble, directed by John Currey (Champaign, IL)
  • Douglas Anderson School of the Arts Jazz Ensemble I, directed by Don Zentz (Jacksonville, FL)
  • Grissom High School “A” Jazz Band, directed by Theo Vernon (Huntsville, AL)
  • Lower Moreland High School Jazz Ensemble, directed by Erin Stroup (Huntingdon Valley, PA)
  • Memphis Central High School Jazz Band, directed by Ollie Liddell (Memphis, TN)
  • Tarpon Springs High School Jazz Ensemble, directed by Christopher De Leon (Tarpon Springs, FL)
  • Thompson High School Jazz Ensemble, directed by Justin White (Alabaster, AL)
  • Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble, directed by Gregg Gelb (Raleigh, NC)
  • Alternate: Tri-Cities High School Jazz Ensemble, directed by Aaron L. Johnson (East Point, GA)

The 2017 Swing Central Jazz clinician team includes:

  • Voice: Brianna Thomas
  • Trumpets: Jim Ketch, Randall Haywood, Alphonso Horne, Terell Stafford
  • Reeds: Joe Goldberg, Boyce Griffith, Tissa Khosla, Ricardo Pascal, Stephen Riley
  • Trombones: Ron Westray, Corey Wilcox
  • Guitar: Dave Stryker
  • Drums: Leon Anderson, Bryan Carter, Jason Marsalis
  • Bass: Rodney Jordan, Rodney Whitaker
  • Piano: Marcus Roberts, Bruce Barth, Chris Pattishall, Bill Peterson

On March 30, all bands perform in a public showcase at Rousakis Plaza on River Street. Competition rounds take place all day on March 31 at the Lucas Theatre for the Arts, and are presented through webcast for family and friends who aren’t able to make the trip to Savannah. Each band plays three selections: “At the House, In Da Pocket” composed and arranged by Jason Marsalis, “Boo-Dah” composed by Billy Strayhorn and “Easy Money” composed by Benny Carter for the Count Basie Orchestra. 

The three top-scoring bands each receive an honorarium and vie for the coveted Faircloth Award ($5000 for first, $2500 for second and $1000 for third place). They also perform the opening set at the SMF production of “Monk and Dizzy at 100,” an original production celebrates the centenary of John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie and Thelonious Monk at 6:30 p.m. that night. All other competitors receive a $500 travel stipend.

The Latest News and Gear in Your Inbox - Sign Up Today!