Bands on bands.
The Big Band Concert on Dec. 5-6 in the ETHS Auditorium will feature swing music from the 30s and 40s played by each level of Jazz Band.
Big Band Jazz consists of four sections of instruments, saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and rhythm. ETHS has three levels of big band: Lab Band, Jazz Band and Jazz Ensemble. Each band consists of about 18 to 25 students.
The Big Band era was prevalent throughout the 30s and 40s, and was made popular by renowned musicians like Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong.
“We try to program music that’s mostly from that era but also pushes the envelope to new charts,” Band Director Matthew Bufis says. “There are still modern charts that are still being written that are very different from those older charts.”
Bufis also explains that at least three students from each level of the bands will be featured on stage with a solo.
Students have been preparing for this concert and upcoming shows since September, after they had their auditions in August.
“We provide them with an audition excerpt: scales, drum patterns and things like that,” Bufis says. “All of that gets emailed out and posted on the website in late April, and so they have all summer to prepare for this audition in front of the jazz faculty.”
Band students practice before school two to three days a week, during lunch periods and on their own outside of school.
“In order to understand how I fit into the group, I listen to the original songs and play along with them to have a better understanding of what I should do in context with the group,” senior Jacob Wham says. “This is based off of a professional’s ideas and utilizing some of their patterns and fills.”
On Monday nights, many of the student-musicians participate in a Jazz Combo program that helps students hone their improv skills for their combos .