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Pinedale Online > News > February 2009 > High School Jazz Festival in Casper
High School Jazz Festival in Casper
by Craig Sheppard
February 28, 2009


The Pinedale Jazz Band and Jazz Choir traveled to Casper College to participate in the 42nd annual Kinser Jazz Festival. The band performed four tunes for their judges and were rated on their performances both individually and as a group. The choir performed three songs and was adjudicated for comments only.

The jazz band was adjudicated by Craig Hall who is a jazz guitarist and acoustic bassist who has carved out an existence as the definitive sideman of the upper mountain states. He is based out of Bozeman, MT and has performed in over 30 states and on four continents. He also has performed on over 50 CDs. The other judge was Darren Kramer who is an Edwards Performing Artist and is in demand as a freelance trombonist, composer and educator throughout the United States. He is also the president/CEO of his own music company, DKO. The Pinedale Jazz Band received two respectable scores of 85 out of 100 and 82 out of 100 from their judges. Maggie Hudlow (tenor sax), Shanna Corwin (trumpet), Casey Terrell (trombone), Garrett George (guitar) and Morgan Holz (bass) all were singled out for Outstanding Solo Awards.

While there the jazz band was involved in a workshop/clinic from their judge, Darren Kramer. They also got to sit in on a question and answer period with the leader of the Count Basie Band (Bill Hughes) and one of the leaders of the trumpet section Scotty Barnhart. Later that night they were treated to a performance by The World Famous Count Basie Orchestra. To make the concert even more exciting they featured the newest member of the band and an arrangement of his and it turned out to be trumpeter Kris Johnson. Kris has played here in Pinedale at Lakeside and Rock Rabbit with our own Ryan Ptasnik being the drummer in the group. That was a fine way to show that young hard working musicians can make it in the world of jazz and then end up playing with one of the best big bands in the world.

The choir was critiqued by Dr. Frank F. Eychaner who is the director of choirs and music education at Colorado Christian University. He also is a frequent guest conductor, clinician and workshop presenter, speaking on topics as diverse as choral tone, choral leadership and vocal jazz improvisation. Donna Wickham was their other judge from the Lamont School of Music in Denver. She is an active jazz performer, composer and arranger, a classical soloist and conductor and a vocal jazz clinician and adjudicator. She worked with the Pinedale students in a half hour workshop.

The Pinedale jazz groups did a fine job representing our community and school at this festival. There were over 70 groups attending this festival this year from all over the state. The groups at this festival were judged very tight but consistent.

These groups will continue participating at various jazz festivals and concerts throughout the Rocky Mountain region beginning with Senior Fundraiser at the school cafeteria April 2nd, performing at District Festival April 15 here in Pinedale, then competing at the UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival April 23-24, before finishing up with their home Spring Jazz Concert April 28th.

Jazz Choir vocalists were Sierra Cunningham, Mariah McKay, Matazie Brewer, Kathryn Konicek, Ashlee Anderson, Christina Silvey, Brielle Buchanan, Vanessa Rugh, Morgan Holz, Jennifer Pape, Kristy Brandewie and Haley Gray. They are under the direction of Gena Anderson and accompanied by Lynda Silvey.

Jazz Band I performers were Lizzy Cooney, Andi Noble, Kelsi Dean, Maggie Hudlow, Kodee Williams, Will Rogers, JoLee Springman, Jake Brunette, Casey Terrell, Josh Abel, Ashley Transtrum, Shanna Corwin, Dylan Strike, Jayne Thompson, Gus Holz, Jordanne Steege, Cody Booth, Jared Attanasio, Harley Estrada, Garrett George, Kathryn Konicek, Niko Kolis and Morgan Holz. The jazz band is under the direction of R. Craig Sheppard.

We cannot forget the other adults that made this trip possible. Ray Sanborn and Kelli Harrower bus drivers and Sue Holz chaperone.

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