SVHS to Compete in Jazz Band Showcase
The competition’s winner will open for the Preservation Hall Jazz Band May 9 during RiverJazz presented by Concannon Miller at Bethlehem's SteelStacks.
Note: The following press release is from ArtsQuest.
BETHLEHEM, PA—Talented high school jazz groups from throughout Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey will have the opportunity to shine during the second-annual SteelStacks High School Jazz Band Showcase presented by King, Spry, Herman, Freund & Faul, LLC, set for Feb. 17-March 17 at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem. Eleven bands will take part in this year’s event, with groups competing for the opportunity to open for Preservation Hall Jazz Band May 9 at RiverJazz presented by Concannon Miller. The showcase will be highlighted during a one-hour TV special created by Greenleaf Productions that will air on 69-WFMZ-TV April 6, 8 p.m.; the winner of the competition will also perform live on WFMZ’s morning news on April 8.
A presentation of ArtsQuest and the Moravian College Music Department, the SteelStacks High School Jazz Band Showcase features area jazz groups performing in front of a live audience and judging panel of area music educators. The top overall groups, as determined by the judges, will advance to the competition’s finals at the Musikfest Café March 17 at 4 p.m. Preliminaries will take place Feb. 17 and March 3 at 4 p.m.; judges are head judge Dr. Neil Wetzel, Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies at Moravian College; Pat Dorian, Professor of Music at East Stroudsburg University; retired music educators Chuck Dressler and Dave Kenney; and Skip Wilkins, jazz pianist and Professor of Music at Lafayette College.
"We here at Moravian College are proud to partner once again with ArtsQuest,” says Wetzel. “This event was truly a high mark for jazz education in the Lehigh Valley in 2012. The high quality of the students' musicianship and the hard work of their directors was evident and the television broadcast on WFMZ was inspirational."
During the finals March 17, the audience will also enjoy performances by the Moravian College Faculty Jazz Ensemble, as well as the SteelStacks Jazz All-Star Big Band, which will feature at least one member from each of the bands in the competition. In addition, several soloist and section awards will be presented at the finals, with all finals solo award winners earning a free scholarship to Moravian College’s 2013 Summer Jazz Camp July 8-12.
“The talent and caliber of musicianship displayed at this competition is simply amazing,” says ArtsQuest Vice President of Performing Arts Patrick Brogan. “While the winner will open for Preservation Hall Jazz Band, based on what we saw and heard last year, we will definitely be including several of the other groups at RiverJazz and other ArtsQuest events this year. In addition, look for the SteelStacks Jazz All-Star Big Band to make its debut at Musikfest this summer.”
The SteelStacks High School Jazz Band Showcase is made possible thanks in part to King, Spry, Herman, Freund & Faul, LLC, in association with 69-WFMZ-TV and Greenleaf Productions. Tickets for the showcase are $5 and are on sale now at www.artsquest.org and 610-332-3378.
“Music and arts education is such an important part of a school district’s programming,” says King Spry Education Chair John Freund. “Not only are programs like the jazz showcase a source of great pride for the schools as a whole, but music plays a large role in the development of the individual. We wish all of the participants well in this competition, and we look forward to enjoying some wonderful music over the next few weeks.”
The complete schedule for the competition, including the groups confirmed so far, is as follows:
Feb. 17, 4 p.m.:
Kutztown Area High School
Phillipsburg High School
Warren Hills Regional High School
March 3, 4 p.m.:
Bernards High School (Bernardsville, N.J.)
Brandywine Heights High School
Dieruff High School
Freedom High School
Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Performing Arts
Pocono Mountain East High School
Quakertown High School
March 17, 4 p.m. - Finals
Family and friends interested in preserving all the magic and memories of the SteelStacks High School Jazz Band Showcase may purchase the official SteelStacks High School Jazz Band Showcase DVD. The two-hour DVD, which costs $20, will be available at artsquest.org and include the entire one-hour WFMZ special, as well as additional interviews and behind-the-scenes footage not found on the television special. In addition, it will include at least one complete song from all 11 of the showcase participants.
For more information on the SteelStacks High School Jazz Band Showcase, please visit www.artsquest.org.