Northview High School jazz band director Nathan Heath directs the Northview High School Jazz Cats during the 26th annual Jazz Festival.
Big band music and cool cats had their day at the 26th Annual Jazz Festival Wednesday night.
High school students broke out their wingtips, bow ties, and fedoras for an all-day celebration of jazz music and style at the Performing Arts Center at Northview High School.
What began with clinical or instructional trials, ended with a four-hour concert that highlighted various jazz genres, from top 40 and funk rock to straight ahead jazz and swing. Eight area high schools joined the ode, including Southview, Anthony Wayne, and Whitmer. Each school played in the public concert that ended with a performance by the event's honored guests, Ohio University Faculty Jazz Collective.
PHOTO GALLERY: 26th annual Northview Jazz Festival
At 4:15 p.m. the curtain swung open, with welcomed cheers, to the opening performers Northview’s Jazz Cats. The musical ensemble was arranged just like a big band orchestra, complete with a horns section, bass guitar, piano, and upright bass.
The opening number lifted spirits, such as toe-tapping, shoulder shrugging, and smiles, were seen throughout the crowd.
Northview High School student Noah Jockett plays a solo on the keytar with the Jazz Cats.
The smooth beat of Proving Ground filled the air. It was a “straight ahead jazz” tune and all that was missing was Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers gliding across the floor. Directed by Nathan Heath, the group played True Blue and the funky upbeat Vehicle.
Jazz Cats trombonist Aaron DiManna, 18, performed a solo in True Blue.
“It’s a lot of fun to play the trombone. It’s a departure from the trumpet because you have to read bass clef,” he said. He also performed with his trumpet in Northview’s Jazz Band set to play right before the Ohio University faculty.
Jacob Schaupp,15, also played the trumpet for the Jazz Cats. His preference for jazz is his appeal to a music with “more beat.”
Both students said they benefited from the clinics held earlier in the day.
The clinics, taught by the university faculty, paired a professional musician with each instrument section, such as a bass player instructing the bass students for one-on-one instruction. That included teaching students how to articulate the musical notes.