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All that Jazz

By Staff | Mar 9, 2012

Members of the Shepherdstown Middle School jazz band perform recently.

SHEPHERDSTOWN – Shepherdstown Middle School jazz band students wowed audiences and judges alike in two weeks of band festival performances. On Feb. 25, the band took superior ratings at the 26th annual Hedgesville Jazz Festival. Receiving a “1,” which is the highest level of achievement, the school’s band also saw five of its members named to the Middle School All-Star Band. Selected were Ian Livingston on trumpet, Alli Ward on trombone, Josie Valentine on alto sax, Dmitri Hunter on bari sax and Nahdoe Bropleh on drums.

In addition to these students selected for the All-Star band, the school’s trumpet and rhythm sections were named as the outstanding sections by last Saturday’s judges.

The band performed at the WV Eastern Regional Jazz Festival Saturday where they again received a superior rating.

At the state festival which followed on Sunday, the Shepherdstown Middle School Jazz Band was judged as the best middle school jazz band in the state of West Virginia for 2012. In celebration of the honor, the band will travel to Morgantown on Friday, Mar. 16 to perform at the Waterfront Place Hotel at 10 a.m. This Honor Concert will take place as part of the West Virginia Music Educator’s Conference.

Members of the band include alto sax players Josie Valenine, Lonnie Biggs and Kaelyn Gardner; tenor sax players Ashley Dar and Joey Gentile; bari sax players Dmitri Hunter and Karsyn McCarthy; trumpet players Hanna Kohls, Ian Livingston, Luke Brown and Mitchell Eddy; trombone players Alli Ward, Mason Young, Colin Hayes and Maddi Saghy; guitarist Hanna Jack; bass players Milo Levine and Ian King; piano players Dmitri Hunter and Josie Lo; and drummers Nahdoe Bropleh, Noah French and Ian King.

The band is directed by Chad Conant.

Conant shared that the band performed four pieces at the festivals including “Untill I Met You (Corner Pocket),” “Take Five,” “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” and “Whatever!” The final tune, “Whatever,” was commissioned by the the jazz band funded by an Arts in Education grant. The tune was written by the director of Jazz Studies at Shepherd University specifically for the band.

Conant praised her students for their hard work and dedication to their playing as well as recognizing John Lynch, Sr., Jesse Schultzaberger, Pat Lowry and Kurtis Adams for their assistance in the jazz instruction.

The band will perform this Tuesday, Mar. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Asbury United Methodist Church across from Morgan’s Grove Park The public is invited to hear their performance as they prepare for their trip to Morgantown.