The 54th Annual Jazz Festival competitions will take place January 28-30. Clark jazz band students will be featured alongside 60 middle and high school jazz ensembles throughout Washington and Oregon promoting the importance of jazz education in American culture.
The event is organized by the five-student Clark College Music Department Management Team, and volunteers from theater and choir classes.
Admission is $5 per day but Clark students and children under 12 are admitted for free.
During the three-day competitions, column builder trophies are presented to the top three jazz ensembles for the middle schools and A through AAAA division high schools. Each school is divided based on size.
The jazz ensembles will be judged by Terry Lack, Steve Robertson, Dan Balmer and Lars Campbell, who are all experienced musicians or directors of school bands. The judges evaluate each band based on solos, time, intonation, style, balance, dynamics, articulation and presentation.
”The level that all schools compete at is amazing and the strong jazz education impresses me,” said Jazz Festival director Richard Inouye.
In addition, as part of a 54-year-old tradition, an individual outstanding band selected from the entire festival will be awarded with the Dale Beacock Memorial Sweepstake trophy. Each sweepstake winning band engraves their school name onto the old cornet built trophy.
The festival features the Clark College Jazz Ensemble directed by Inouye.
Ten middle schools will be competing on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with the finals beginning at 4 p.m. Fifty high schools will compete Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. with finals competitions at 7 p.m.
The 2015 sweepstakes winning Mountain View High School Band from Vancouver, directed by Sam Ormson, will hold the spotlight on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. and hand over the trophy to the 2016 school winner.
After the performances, each band meets with one of the judges for a 30 minute ‘workshop clinic’. The judge gives professional advice and pointers to the band on their performance.
Every year there are new schools from Seattle, Salem, British Columbia, Port Angeles, Newport and Idaho registering for the festival in the Fall.
The Festival is sponsored this year by Beaches Restaurant, Beacock Music, China Cook, Classic Pianos of Portland, The Coffee Lounge, Dairy Queen, Friday Harbor House of Jerky, Homewood Suites and Music World.
The Grant House Restaurant donates lunches for the judges to enjoy during their break. The Coffee Lounge in Hannah Hall provides coffee and donuts for the staff and adjudicators in a show of collegial support.
Jenny Baird, personnel manager for the team hosting the festival, said she runs the event with a logistics manager, stage manager, administrative assistant and registration supervisor.
“The team is there to have students kick in and learn to organize and operate so they can gain the experience they can’t get in the classroom,” Inouye said.
The Clark College band members organize the Fall Choral Festival and five additional band concerts per quarter.