It isn’t every year that the JHS Jazz Band makes the ISSMA State Finals, but there is always room for change. With only their second time making it to the finals, members ready to pave the way to the North Central High School with confidence. Jazz qualified for the ISSMA State Jazz Finals by receiving one of the highest scores in the state on March 4th at the ISSMA Jazz Contest at Whiteland High School. Jasper High School is one of the smallest schools in Indiana to make the jazz state finals. Jasper is also the only state finalist to only have one jazz band. To say the least, the Jasper Jazz Band is one in a million (it’s a big deal).
Though the Jazz finals are coming up close, the Jazz band partnered up with the JHS choir for a night filled with talent. The choir opened with their beautiful voices, followed by the jazz band. Connor Fritch, a junior who is known for playing many instruments, performed a solo on the piano that got him to win state. “Connor doesn’t have time for a break because he is so awesome” says choir director S.J Burns, as Connor and the rest of the Ambassadors Choir made way to the stage for a song. Ambassadors Choir is the highest level for the choir students here at JHS. Ambassadors Choir member senior Piper Keusch sang the solo “Feeling Good” as the jazz band played behind her. After each song, the choir students who were sitting out in the audience roared along with the rest of the audience filled with proud parents.
The Jazz band had many students perform solos as well, including Tristian June on soprano sax, Vincent Obermeyer on tenor sax and clarinet, Zach Jones on trumpet, Tyler Richardson on trombone, and many others. Another soloist included Mandi Shields on vocals. With jazz accompanying her, Shields sang “Come Rain or Come Shine.” The auditorium, which was flooded with people, rang with cheers as she sang out her last note.
The night was a success, with almost every seat filled, and, without a doubt, gave the jazz band an extra practice for their upcoming states competition. “The Jazz band loves to have an audience when performing. When we performed at Ball State, there was maybe 5 people in the audience.” laughs Jazz band director Mr. Keely, “It’s more fun to perform with a crowd of fans and supporters. Most of that audience was Mandi’s (Shields) family…and Zach’s (Jones) family…and my wife. That was completely it.” The competition is Saturday, March 17, at North Central in Indianapolis starting at 6. Jasper will perform around 9:10 p.m. that night.