The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

Jazz Bands Perform in Final Concert of the Year

Jordan Lui
Senior Sam Foster, who plays the alto saxophone on the Jazz Lab Band, waves at the audience after their final piece. “[Jazz is] just something that I enjoy personally, and I wanted to do,” Foster said.

On Thursday, April 11, 2024, both the Jazz Lab Band and Jazz Ensemble performed in the studio theater at 7:30 PM.

Kicking off the concert, the Jazz Lab Band, directed by saxophone private lesson teacher Ben Voigt, played three different songs, featuring multiple soloists in all three.

The first song, “Alamode,” was composed by Curtis Fuller, and arranged by Paul Murtha. “Alamode” featured sophomore soloist Davis Hillback on the tenor sax, and freshman soloist Braden Weaver on the trombone.

The second song, “Hip N’ Cool”, was composed by Les Hooper, and featured the use of instruments not usually seen in Jazz, such as french horns and tubas. This song featured three soloists: Hillback and Weaver on the tenor and trombone, along with senior Izzy Lopez on the trumpet.

“It’s not a traditional jazz piece, which is the best part. It’s slower and it’s got interesting rhythms,” senior Sam Foster commented about “Hip N’ Cool”.

“I started playing Jazz when my friend roped me into it at Oak Grove,” sophomore Mateo Garcia said. “I ended up really enjoying it.” Garcia played french horn on “Hip N’ Cool”, and usually plays trumpet. 

The final song of the night, “Mas Blues” by Oscar Hernandez, featured four soloists, Weaver, Lopez, and two new soloists, freshman Isaac Stone on the trombone, and senior Gus Swanson on the drums. 

The Jazz Ensemble, the auditioned band directed by Mr. Matt Karnsteadt, played after the Lab Band. The ensemble played four tunes: “Emancipation Blues”, “Something’s Gotta Give”, “When the Streetlamps Light”, and “Like It Is”.

Starting off the Ensemble’s set was “Emancipation Blues” by Oliver Nelson, which featured  many soloists, including senior Aditi Nair, senior Em Erisman, sophomore Richie Dombrowski, sophomore Andrew Schinler, senior Owen Gohr on the string bass, junior Liam Neilson on the Bari Sax, sophomore Chethan Nickerson on the trumpet, senior Bre Dunworth on the tenor saxophone, and sophomore Anna Garippo on the alto sax. 

“Soloing is definitely a very intense experience because you have to stay in time, play the right style, and follow the chord changes,” Neilson said.  “It one hundred percent pays off, though, because after you are done, everyone applauds.”

The next song played was “Something’s Gotta Give” by Johnny Mercer, arranged by Nelson Riddle. This song once again featured Garippo as a soloist, and included Junior Wren Frey, who is in the choir program, providing vocals. 

“My favorite part about teaching jazz is that it’s a really great vehicle for just letting your creativity shine through,” Mr. Karnsteadt said. “There are different interpretations that we can do that are a little bit more personal than what I find in orchestra or concert band.”

The third song from the ensemble was “When the Streetlamps Light”, by composer Ariel Sha Glassman. This song featured junior Annie Brody on guitar, junior Li Drouhard on trumpet, and senior Matthew Reichard on the drums.

“I really enjoyed listening to all my friends solo, they were all super good,” Erisman said. Erisman has been involved in Jazz at LHS for all four years of her high school career.

Ending the night was “Like It Is” by John Fedchock, featuring junior Mary Tunney on the alto sax, sophomore Thomas Texira on the string bass, sophomore Richie Dombrowski on the trombone, and junior Annie Brody on the guitar. 

“I didn’t initially start out playing jazz. When I got to high school, my parents signed me up for Jazz band, and I ended up really enjoying it,” Dombrowski said.

‘It was just a really special group of kids,” Mr. Karnsteadt said. “They’re super supportive of each other, and that made the rehearsals really easy and fun.”

While the Jazz Bands are done for the year, the music department is still preparing for their upcoming concerts, with the first Spring Band/Orchestra concert coming up on April 25.

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