Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Superior End to the Jazz Band Season

Photo by Evan Brandt
The Pottstown High School Jazz Band after earning a superior rating in the jazz championships at Arcola Intermediate School.

Pottstown High School's intrepid jazz band cleaned up at the 27th annual Jazz Band Championships held at Arcola Intermediate School Friday night.
Photo by Evan Brandt

The Best Rhythm Section, from left, Cole Sellers, bass, 
Jake Fetterman, piano, Connor Christman, drums, 
Gabe Francis, percussion and Gary Olberholtzer, guitar.

Not only did the band earn one of the four "superior" ratings, the highest, in the evening's competition in the Woody Herman Division, they also earned the "best rhythm section" award and saxophonist extraordinaire Marley Bryan won another soloist award.

And, as if that were not enough, three of Pottstown's student musicians were included in the All-Star Jazz Band made up of members of the nine schools which competed Friday night.

The only other local band to play was the Spring-Ford Area High School Jazz Ensemble 1.

We've got videos of their three tunes, Pottstown's performance as well as two of the three All-Star Jazz Band performances before my battery gave up the ghost.

Here are the ratings in order of performance:

  • Central Bucks High School South Jazz Ensemble -- Outstanding;
  • Plymouth Whitemarsh High School Jazz Band -- Outstanding;
  • Radnor High School Jazz Band -- Outstanding;
  • North Penn High School Columbia Jazz Band -- Superior;
  • Spring-Ford Area High School Jazz Ensemble 1 -- Outstanding;
  • Upper Moreland High School -- Superior;
  • Springfield Township High School -- Outstanding;
  • Souderton High School -- Superior;
  • Pottstown High School -- Superior;
  • Best Rhythm Section -- Pottstown;
  • Best Trombone Section; Souderton;
  • Best Trumpet Section; North Penn;
  • Best Saxophone Section: Central Bucks South.

Honorable Mentions for Solos included:
  • Alex Arnold, drums from North Penn;
  • Jake Barber, tenor sax from Upper Moreland;
  • Alyssa Roberts, trombone, from Upper Moreland;
  • Zach Washel, trombone, from Souderton;
  • Weston Bainbridge, drums, from Souderton.
Solists recognized included:
  • Ethan Lee, piano, from Radnor;
  • Marley Bryan, tenor sax, from Pottstown;
  • Ra 'Quan Washington, piano, from Springfield;
  • Gia Gajdos, flute, from Springfield.
Here are videos of the full performances, in order:

We start with Spring-Ford's "Night in Tunisia."

They followed that with "Chelsea Bridge"

And they wrapped it up with "The Four of Us:"

Now we move on to Pottstown, with three songs regular visitors of this blog will know well by now. But this is the best I have ever heard the band play them.

First up? "R U Chicken?"

This was followed by "Midnight Voyage" which has Bryan providing a solo throughout the entire four-and-a-half minutes of the song.

And Pottstown finished up with "Ruth," this particular performance featuring a lengthy drum solo from Connor Christman, a departing senior.

The final treat for the evening, a very long evening, was the All-Star Band, put together by the Souderton band director, Adam Tucker, which featured three Pottstown musicians: Sherif Mohamed, Tamer Mohamed and Marley Bryan.

I was able to record two of their three songs, all of which were mastered with only two rehearsals.

Their first number is titled "Officer's Mess."

The final number I recorded is titled (as far as I could tell) "Out in the Dog House."

I hope you've enjoyed all of this. I certainly did, but its after 2 a.m. now, and I would like to go to sleep please.

1 comment: