Jazz music festival

Tate Lucas and Kelsey Blickenstaff

The 17th Annual Evanston High School Jazz Festival is finally here, and the school is gearing up for another lively event. The performance will begin with a Jazz Ensemble from middle and high school students in the region, followed by a special guest appearance from the Chicago State University Community Jazz Band. 

Students will participate in an all-day immersive experience with lessons and technique clinics for different instruments in the band provided by the Chicago State Community Jazz Band, such as Pete Mills and Tom Garling. This event will be beneficial to many students from local Illinois schools taking part, as they are taught new techniques to better advance their musical skills. They will be learning the perspective of what it’s like to be a jazz musician. During the day time, there is a clinic run by professional jazz musicians that will instruct, show, teach and critique the jazz students who are participating in the fest. There are noontime concerts as well, featuring the Bryant Gephart group, which is free for all attendees. The clinics and concerts are followed by a student performance at night. The students integrate the skills they learned from the professionals into their performance at 7 p.m. the nighttime show. ETHS is hosting the event which consists of 90 students annually. 

“Behind the scenes, we are planning a really big event, the clinic and the show at night, because we welcome all of these different groups from all over the state. We are working on advertising, building a program book and working with guest artists, as well as working with WDCB, doing announcements, designing the program and advertising for the festival,” title first name Bufis said. Director of Bands Matthew Bufis said.

Saturday February 15, is meant to teach jazz  students about the professional field and the lifestyle of a professional jazz musician the lifestyle of a professional jazz musician. This is a different experience for the students joining the program because they get to learn from the experts and learn the ways of jazz as a collective community.

The jazz festival’s goal is to encourage students to advance in their skills. It hopes to bring elements of jazz to light and inspire students to follow the pathway of jazz in their musical careers. The students are encouraged to participate in the clinics and performances in the performance at night after all the hard work they are doing to prepare for this festival during the school day, and they get a chance to show their talent to the public as well.

“We get to do our [pieces], get feedback and do a clinic. Then we watch the other groups play,” freshman Luke Van Leer adds, describing the festivities.

Parents, students, friends and anyone interested can attend– this event is open to the public. With over 50 middle and high schools participating from the region, the ETHS Jazz Festival is an experience that many patrons are sure to enjoy. 

There will be two concerts, each featuring a different artist, along with the middle and high school students. The noontime production will star the Brian Gephart Group, a jazz sextet, and the 7 p.m. performance will spotlight the Rajiv Halim Quintet. The performance will take place on Feb. 15, and will be located in the ETHS auditorium.