Pinedale Jazz Band at NW Jazz Festival
by Craig Sheppard
March 20, 2006
The Pinedale Jazz Band I traveled to Powell last weekend for the 23rd annual Northwest Jazz Festival. The Pinedale band, coming from one of the smallest schools at the festival, has been involved in all of these festivals except one. This year there were over 1400 students from 6 different states participating in this festival.
The jazz bands played for two judges and were critiqued on their overall performances as well as their improvisation solos. They received two II ratings from their judges.
Judges this year were Mike Tomaro and Ken Boggio. Mr. Tomaro is the Director of Jazz Studies at Duquesne University, a woodwind specialist, composer and an arranger. Mr. Boggio is from Billings, Montana and is a retired band director, trumpet performer and clinician/adjudicator all over the Northwest region.
The Pinedale band is always noted for how many soloists that perform with the band, and this year was not different. Singled out for outstanding solo awards were Joe Pearce – tenor sax, Conor Raney – tenor sax, and Joe Steege - trombone. These three each received a $250 grant/scholarship to the Yellowstone Jazz Camp this summer for their outstanding musicianship.
That night the band went to a concert which had the Wyoming Allstate Jazz Band and Northwest College Jazz Band as the opening acts. Gary Lankford, a former Pinedale HS jazz band player was in the Northwest College group, playing bari sax and bass clarinet. Then the festival audience was treated to the Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band. This group is led by Emmy-winning composer Gordon Goodwin and is considered to be the greatest big band in the world. This band is made up of 18 of the best Los Angeles jazz musicians and did they show it. They performed an hour and a half of many styles of music from jazz and salsa to funk and blues, showing off their virtuosic abilities.
The Pinedale Jazz Band I members are May Rose Huntley, Kendall Brunette, Joe Pearce, Conor Raney, Kristin Corwin, Max Burns, Jeff Biffle, Joe Steege, Meredith Noble, Kenny Walker, Andrew Waxe, Ashley Transtrum, Shanna Corwin, Forrest Michnevich, Colter Bennett, Abe Pearce, Trevor Howard, Dylan Strike, Cody Higgins, Nate Stroud, TJ Knutson, Morgan Holz and Kathryn Konicek. They are under the direction of R. Craig Sheppard.
We can’t forget to thank our chaperone Des Brunette and our great band bus driver and jazz enthusiast Jack Hayden who really helped make this trip a success.
Now the band is getting ready for the University of Northern Colorado Jazz Festival at Greeley, Colorado (April 20-21), then they will perform a home concert (April 25), followed by District Music Festival (April 28) at Big Piney and then finish their year with the Senior Fundraising Dinner Performance (May 4). Come out and watch these young musicians when they perform April 25 at 7 PM in the Pinedale Auditorium.