Start of jazz band

Christine Hilario, A&E Writer

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Xavier’s jazz musicians are getting into the swing of things. Jazz Band One rehearsals started October 30 and Jazz Band Two rehearsals start December 5.

For the past three years, Jazz Band One (JBO) has placed in the top three at the Iowa Jazz Championships but behind these awards and recognition is time spent working hard in rehearsals.

“The goal of Jazz Band Two (JBT) is to make each student more knowledgeable on the idiom and prepare them for JBO,” Band Director Ms. Kelli Swehla said.

Since freshmen year, senior Devin Muresan has loved working on his improvisation skills on the bass trombone in JBT.

“I feel like we get more work done [during JBT rehearsals] because it is easier to see and polish mistakes when you have a small group like that,” Muresan said.

While JBT works on improvisations, JBO focuses on style. After two years of playing bass in JBT, junior Joanne Lee now plays bass, acoustic guitar and flute in JBO.

“Most of the rehearsal time for JBO is spent trying to replicate the sound qualities of soloists in past decades or playing as light and bright or as heavy and dark as the songs demand,” Lee said.

Although freshman Tim Lesnik participated in jazz band in middle school, he was not used to some of the rigorous demands of JBO.

“I can tell that jazz band is much more serious,” Lesnik said. “I know Xavier has had some of the best jazz bands in the state recently, which sets the standards much higher.”

This year, JBO will be performing pieces by Rick Hirsch, Jeff Coffin, Duke Ellington and Ludwig van Beethoven. JBT will be performing pieces by Sammy Nestico, Duke Ellington, Kenny Dorham and Michael Sweeney.

JBO will compete at the State Jazz Band Festival, Tallcorn Jazz Festival, the Liberty Jazz Festival, the Coe College Jazz Summit and the District Jazz Festival. JBT will compete at the Coe College Jazz Summit.