On the weekend of January 10, several excited musicians embarked on a several hour journey to the other side of the country, to Reno, Nevada, dubbed “the biggest little city in the world,” to participate in the annual JENerations Jazz Festival at the Jazz Education Network Conference. At the festival, three GDS bands played, including the Honors Band Combo, a Big Band (Artie Saul and his Slime Dribblers) and an outside-of-class group (the Xander Davies Quartet).
The 33 students entertained themselves at the hotel’s bowling alley and casino and dined at the West Coast’s famous In-and-Out Burger. Sophomore saw player Fiore Petricone said that it was a great experience for him and he found that Reno is definitely “a unique city.”
Junior pianist Berret Yuffee equally enjoyed the convention, saying that the workshop she attended, “was really informative.”
The trip-goers had a great time. However, Jazz Band teacher Brad Linde described the playing as “meh.” He noted that although the Honors band and quartet played well despite being harshly judged, the big band ran into a few problems. Yuffee commented similarly that the “Big band was kind of a mess.”
There are a few ways to combat this issue in the future. Petricone says that it all comes down to the “focus in class,” as well as preparing beforehand. Yuffee said that chemistry is a huge part of how well a band can play. After all, it is not the individuals that control the quality of the music, but the collective sound.
Experience in the field is an important part of jazz education. Even if some thought that the playing was not up to snuff, students still got to see what the real world of music is like.
Oliver Satola ’20