KANELAND—Each year, a select few middle school jazz bands are given the high honor of performing at the annual Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA) Conference in Peoria, Ill. This year, the Kaneland Harter Middle School Jazz Band, under the direction of Rebecca Andersen, was chosen to perform at State. The jazz band, comprising of seventh- and eighth-grade student musicians and one sixth-grader, will travel to Peoria on Friday, Jan. 24, to perform.
The selection process began last January after Andersen attended the 2013 conference. Andersen submitted an audition tape of the jazz band to the ILMEA to be considered for a performance at the 2014 conference.
“The make-up of the band last year and the larger number of seventh graders who were in the band led me to believe that this year’s band could be something special,” Andersen said.
In order to prepare for the conference, the students rehearsed weekly since school began in August and also met during Thanksgiving and winter break. Kaneland High School band director Aaron Puckett and Burlington Central High School band director Jim Struyk also worked with the jazz band to perfect their songs and sound. The songs that the jazz band will perform are “Phat Kat,” “Blues in the Night,” “Whoopin’ Blues,” “The Shadow of Your Smile,” “Song for my Father,” and “Shake, Twist and Jump.”
“This is a huge honor for both our district and this group of students,” Andersen said. “I’m pretty sure this is the first time a Kaneland group has been selected to perform at the conference.”
Andersen said that the group of students is very excited to perform, and they realize what a great opportunity this will be to showcase their talents.
The Kaneland Harter Middle School Jazz Band performs throughout the year at concerts, pep assemblies, local sporting events and jazz festivals. Funds were provided by the Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters, Andersen Plumbing & Heating, and Quinlan & Fabish to cover a portion of the trip’s expenses. Kaneland Harter Middle School is located at 1601 Esker Drive in Sugar Grove.