Music — The group performs well at Albany event, drawing praise from clinician Dave Parker

ALBANY — Picking back up with music it has been working on since the beginning of the school year, the Chehalem Valley Middle School jazz band reveled in the atmosphere Saturday at the North Albany Middle School Jazz Festival. by: SUBMITTED - Good experience - The CVMS ensemble 
performed three songs at the North Albany Middle School Jazz Festival Saturday before spending 25 minutes with one of the festival's three clinicians.

“For a lot of kids this was the first time they’ve ever been to a jazz festival,” said CVMS music teacher Dave Sanders. “We heard some other middle school bands and that was fun to hear.”

The ensemble performed three songs — rock/shuffle piece “Just Fine” by Howard Rowe, Dizzy Gillespie and Frank Paparelli’s Latin-influenced “Night in Tunisia” and the swing standard “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie,” written by Vaughn Horton, Denver Darling, and Milt Gabler and recorded by Louis Jordan — before spending 25 minutes with one of the festival’s three clinicians.

Playing solos during the performance were eighth grade students Grace Kavanagh on piano, Zak Hensley on saxophone and Evan Hylton on trumpet, with seventh grade student Catherine O’Brien performing on alto saxophone.

George Fox University jazz band director Nathanael Ankeny and West Albany High School band director Stuart Welsh were on hand as clinicians, but the CVMS group drew Portland State University jazz band director Dave Parker.

“He had some very nice things to say about the band, that we were doing the right thing by starting early playing jazz music,” Sanders said. “He said our soloists played very well, so that was nice to hear.”

In addition to the student performances, all the band directors in attendance gathered together with the judges to play a half-hour set for the students during lunch.

For Sanders, that meant the chance to play with Ankeny, a tenor saxophone and former student.

“It was fun being on stage with one of my former students and hearing him play,” Sanders said. “He’s a very talented tenor saxophone player. He actually has his masters in jazz pedagogy.”

The school’s jazz band will play the same trio of songs it performed at the festival, along with two new songs, at its next concert in March.

“For the most part, it was just a really good experience,” Sanders said. “The kids enjoyed listening to the other jazz bands and just the opportunity to have a professional jazz musician work with them.”

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