UHS Jazz Band
It’s been 22 years since the University High School Jazz Band made the trip. Over the weekend, they were selected as the West Virginia Honors Jazz Band. That means an invitation to the Capital City and a performance at the West Virginia Music Educators Association annual conference.
“It’s always a tradition that the honor band goes to the conference and performs in front of all the music educators,” explained Jazz Band Director Neil King.
The performance takes place on Thursday at the Charleston Civic Center Little Theater at 8pm.
King says the 18-member group worked hard on their performance pieces before the regional competition and they can’t wait to play in front of a group of knowledgeable musicians.
“Oh, they’re tickled to death,” King said. “They’re ten-feet tall. They couldn’t be more proud.”
The jazz band will perform selections from the likes of Count Basie and Duke Ellington. King says he chose the pieces to broaden the musicians minds.
“These young people are really buying into the concept of playing what would have been their great-grandparents generation,” he said.
Often in high school, it’s the football and basketball teams that get all the attention. King says this is a great opportunity to spread the word about the arts.
“I think sometimes the arts get kind of passed over,” according to King. “It’s a great opportunity for these students to get their due. The amount of hours they put in are endless.”
King knows a thing for two about jazz bands. He grew up playing in one at Fairmont Sr. High School.