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Jazz Band prepares for a new season of music

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Jazz Band plays in the VHHS Auditorium on March 8, 2017.

Jazz Band plays in the VHHS Auditorium on March 8, 2017.

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Jazz Band plays in the VHHS Auditorium on March 8, 2017.

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The bell finally rings at 3:15 p.m. and all students and faculty begin to run around and hustle to their next commitment. All of the sudden they pass through the music hallway, and immediately break out into a smile as they hear the soothing sounds of Jazz music. It is not until this moment that they realize the pleasure that is brought through the sounds of music every winter season.

Unlike some sports or activities, Jazz band acts as one group and doesn’t function based on leadership or seniority. Joey Acopiado (12) talked about the collaborative and unique relationship between the members and director.

“I love how much communication there is. There is a constant back and forth between the band members and the director and player” Acopiado said.

Mr. Russell gives his musicians autonomy allowing a unique relationship.

Acopiado explained, “Improvised sections can be agreed upon, and changes can be made at will…it makes the whole group feel tighter and more productive than other groups.”

Acopiado, who plays the guitar and piano, doesn’t feel like he has a leadership role; he focuses on the importance of every member playing together.

He stated, “When the band acts as a team, and we are all playing with the same energy, it works a lot better than when ‘seniority’ and other aspects shadow the teamwork. Everybody should be trying to serve the music and have a good time — and I think we do that pretty well.”

During winter, the Jazz band plays in front of the school. Students and faculty may even notice tunes on some Wednesdays as they grace the foyer at 7:30 am.

“It honestly brings a smile to my face and makes my day way better. Walking into a different sound other than people talking is especially cool,” said Sam Lemme (12).

Numerous Vernon Hills students notice and enjoy the morning tunes played by the Jazz Band.

“I love hearing Jazz Band! I don’t think Jazz Band gets the recognition they deserve in the grand scheme of things,” Kelsey Carido (12) said. “They are underrated in my opinion. They’ve been very successful over the years and have won titles at competitions. They have such talented musicians, and I hope they get noticed sooner rather than later.”

The Jazz band is a combination of bass drums, guitar, saxophone, trombone, trumpet, and sometimes clarinet. These are the instruments prevalent within the group because of accessibility back in the day.

“After the civil war, those were the instruments that people could purchase,” Mr. Russell stated.

Most students enrolled in Jazz Band are also involved in other segments of the music department at Vernon Hills. The Jazz Band program at Vernon Hills High School used to be small and was only made up of one band. Now, our program has grown tremendously, and there are two bands in the school with an abundance of musicians.

“I like getting to know the kids and helping them figure out how to make music work for them…Jazz tends to feature the right people at the right time, and that exemplifies personal fulfillment,” Mr. Russell remarked.

The Jazz band is different from other groups because they don’t follow the music exactly how it is written.

“We do not play the music; we put our spin on it every time. We also take a lot of liberty,” Mr. Russell said.

The Jazz band is involved in many competitions, but one of their favorites is the Jazz Band Festival, hosted by Rolling Meadows High School. There are about 250 different groups that compete in the competition.

Each school is put into a category depending on how big the school is and the size of the band. Each jazz band will play in front of three or more judges, who score them based on all aspects of their performance.

Students can check out the Jazz Band school performances on Feb. 2 in the foyer and March 7 in the gym.

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The student newspaper of Vernon Hills High School
Jazz Band prepares for a new season of music