Student band jazzes up theater performance

CIN COM 0207 all state jazz bandWEB
From left, Jacob Renner, Grace Wiles, Vincent Hammer, Mark Miller, Evan Foley, Aidan Board, Kelly Reagin and NHS Jazz Director Bethany Robinson. (Submitted photo)

By Mark Ambrogi

Hard work has paid off for Noblesville jazz students.

Seven students were selected to perform in the Historic Embassy Theater as part of the All-State Jazz Band in Fort Wayne Jan. 13. The Jazz Band was one of the featured performances at the IMEA (Indiana Music Educators Association) Convention, the annual music educator conference. Six Noblesville students were in the Junior All-State band and one in All-State

“These students worked outside of class on their own to produce incredible audition recordings that impressed some of the top jazz musicians and professors in the state,” said Bethany Robinson, assistant band director and jazz director. “For students to take that kind of initiative and dedication to the uniquely American music of jazz is a rare accomplishment.”

Robinson said it is the highest number of students ever to represent Noblesville at the Jazz All-State Level.

During the two-day conference, students were able to work with world-renowned directors like Todd Stoll, the president for the National-Level Jazz Organization JEN (Jazz Education Network), Robinson said. Stoll is the vice president of education at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. Robinson said the group also enjoyed a performance and master classes from the Ball State University Jazz Faculty.

“One of the greatest joys in education is exposing students to new genres of music they might not otherwise discover,” Robinson said. “For students to then enjoy and pursue it outside of class just shows how engaged and dedicated they are to their own learning process. To see young students on such a big stage playing and soloing was a very proud moment for me as a Noblesville educator. They represented our school so well, both musically and with their character.”

The Junior All-State students were East Middle School eighth-grader Jacob Renner, West Middle eighth-grader Vincent Hammer, freshmen Grace Wiles, Mark Miller, Aidan Board and Kelly Reagin

Foley was a member of the All-State band and the others were named Junior All-State.