Instruments in the Fall

Matt Gacek and Joanna Kouros

 On Oct. 13, the jazz band held their fall concert in the auditorium. It was a night of music, solos and overall enjoyment.  

    “We started rehearsing these pieces in August, so it’s been a couple months. It’s been a little bit different this year only because the playing time we are allotted is much less than even last year. So, normally we get a 90 minute class period, now we’re playing for 30 minutes, we’re breaking and hopefully getting a few more minutes in after the break,” Elliot Smith, Jazz 1 director, said. 

   This was the band’s first performance since the COVID-19 shutdown in March. They missed their spring concert & their ISSMA (Indiana State School Music Association) contest.

   “Honestly it’s kind of relieving at this point. Not having our contests and concerts in the spring kind of put a damper on the end of last year and so going back into this year and having that energy to be like ‘yes we get to perform, we finally get to do it,’ it’s just been really good to have a positive moment in such kind of really hard times right now, so it’s been relieving,” Cadence Boone, Jazz 2 director, said.  

   The directors weren’t the only ones excited to get back to performing.The performers were also looking forward to playing in front of an audience once again.  

   “It was impressive.  I have a lot of e-learning friends that are like ‘there’s no way school is as safe as you say it is,’ so when you look at how well we’ve actually done all together, it’s not that surprising that we were able to perform. But from an outside perspective, it is surprising. But, it was really fun and it’s really cool to be a part of something like that and do it safely at the same time,” Reid Verraco (10) said.  

   Jazz 2 performed first with pieces which included solos from Nicholas Mullins, Grant Richardson, Samuel Ring (10) and Landon LaRue (9). Jazz 1 performed next with three pieces, which included solos from Reid Verraco (10), Nate Sorrentino, Mackinlee Keener, Ethan Foster and Bennett Garvey. 

   “Honestly, there’s no real audition process, at least in the top Jazz ensemble.  Pretty much, whatever part you’re playing on the tune, if there’s a solo, it’s your solo.  There are spots where it is a little bit open-ended and for students who want a solo more, we give them that opportunity,” Smith said. 


Jazz 1 is the top Jazz ensemble. There is a different solo audition process in Jazz 1 than in Jazz 2.

   “My soloists send in a recording of their own playing of the solos in the music. I give them a date that they submit it on and then I go back and check them and just basically choose who I think is right for each solo and who can show the most potential and growth during the next couple weeks leading up to the concert,” Boone said.  

   For some, jazz band may just be something they do for a socially fun extracurricular. But for others, music might mean more to them than just playing an instrument.  

   “When I tell people I play the alto saxophone they don’t believe me or laugh or something because I don’t look like I play an instrument. So playing music to me means challenging expectations,” Faith Angel (9) said.  (I don’t know whether or not her last name is Angel, that’s just what her IG said.  I will email Mr. Smith & double check with him.)  

   Deciding a future regarding something you’re passionate about can be easy or challenging for some students.


   “I plan on continuing my music career through high school and beyond because music is a great part of my life. I honestly don’t know what I would do without it, it’s my way of expressing myself,” Nadine Batista (10) said.