30th annual JazzFest


The 30th annual JazzFest took place on Friday, May 3rd. Staff, students, parents, and directors were all treated once again to a successful night in the Performing Arts Center.

Every year on the first Friday in May, all of the LPHS jazz bands end their joyful jazz season with the biggest concert: JazzFest.

To give the bands an even better concert, the LPHS directors communicate with the head clinician, Jim Widner, and they come up with possible artists and tunes.

The seven guest artists who flew out to Indiana to make this festival possible were: Jim Widner, Chip McNeill, Frank Greene, Scott Whitfield, Joe Cartwright, Rick Haydon, and Butch Miles.

They all are outstanding world-wide known jazz musicians, so bringing them out to LPHS every year is a huge deal.

They came to LPHS on Thursday, May 2nd. They met with each band: Kesling Jazz Band, Boston Jazz Band, and LPHS Jazz and Lab Bands. After only meeting with the bands for one to two hours, the bands immediately saw improvement in their overall sound.

Not only did the student musicians learn how to produce a better, jazzy sound, but the directors learned how to help students achieve it.

“The rehearsals before the big concert are my favorite part,” Mrs. Sullivan, Boston band director, said. “The concert on Friday night is always a blast, but the rehearsals are where the kids get to interact with world-class professional jazz musicians! It is awesome for the students, but I always learn more about helping students play jazz music from these musicians.”

LPHS hosting JazzFest every year has made a large impact on the students. The fact that they are able to sit down with artists and be a whole new band in only a one to two hour rehearsal truly shows how talented the guest artists are.

Because of how skilled these artists are, the directors have made sure to bring them back every year.

“I have always believed that wherever I teach, the focus should be on a well-rounded program. We march, do concert band, and do jazz. So many programs focus on only one of those things which, to me, is cheating the students,” Mr. Stisher, LPHS band director, said. “Jazz is also a challenging genre that is much like learning a foreign language. Listening to and imitating musicians such as those we bring in for JazzFest is important.”

Not only do the educators love bringing JazzFest to our school every year, but the students love it equally as much.

“JazzFest is a perfect opportunity for young students with a passion for music to meet and learn from musicians of a larger caliber. The experience is something I and several other young musicians look forward to every year,” Farrah Coddington, lab band player, said.

It’s clear that the 30 years of JazzFest continue to be a hit year after year.

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