Jazz band hosts conference competition

Surrounding schools come together to play, learn


Cecil Jacobson

The St Louis Park High School jazz band warms up for their performance, 1/31/18.

Emma Kempf and Maddie Lund

According to band director Steve Schmitz, Park hosted the West Metro Conference jazz festival on Jan. 31.

“High school jazz bands (performed) from Chanhassen, Chaska, Richfield, Saint Louis Park, Bloomington Jefferson, Bloomington Kennedy and Robbinsdale Cooper,” Schmitz said.

According to Schmitz, the festival has been hosted by Park the last couple years and runs throughout the school day.

“For the last two years (Andy)Ewald and the conference asked if we could host,” Schmitz said. “Whoever has a jazz band that feels they are ready comes to the site. We run the festival from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. during the school day.”

Schmitz said it was his job to find clinicians who could help judge the performances and suggest improvements for each band.

“I am in charge of hiring clinicians, so people that can listen to us and give advice and feedback and help us get better,” Schmitz said. “I always try to hire college professors from the area.”

Junior Gavin Charpentier said he thinks it was nice to go listen to the different kinds of music played by the other jazz bands.

“I think it was really cool, especially just because we only get to practice like 2-3 times a week,” Charpentier said. “It’s cool when we get to do concerts and play our music for other people, and that’s why waking up really early in the morning to go to jazz band is worth it.”

According to Schmitz, the Park jazz band recevied some good feedback from a clinician.

“(The clinician said), ‘people come to college and don’t know responsibility or how to respect each other and it’s clear that (your students) have that,’” Schmitz said. “He said that, ‘of all the bands your kids at St. Louis Park were the most receptive to coaching and feedback,’ which I was really pleased about and I thought were strong compliments.”’

Schmitz said jazz band had been rehearsing their pieces since the fall, but that the band will be performing new work at the upcoming POPs concert.

“The music we played we’ve been doing since the fall. We didn’t quite have anything new ready for the festival, but we’ll have a bunch of stuff ready for our POPs concert,” Schmitz said.