Regional Honor Jazz Band plays Saturday |

Regional Honor Jazz Band plays Saturday

A flotilla of student musicians from across western Colorado will be honing up on their skills and getting an opportunity to demonstrate what they’ve learmed in a special two-day jazz experience to be held this weekend.

The first District Eight Honor Jazz Band, featuring 65 high school and middle school students, will be assembled on Friday at Glenwood Springs High School, preparing for a concert on Saturday.

Rob Merritt, Glenwood Springs High School’s director of instrumental music, said the two-day course will be a chance for young musicians to learn from professional players and prepare for a bit of time in the spotlight.

“We’re hoping this turns into an annual event ” I’ve always had a full honor band at the high school level, but I’ve never had a select honor jazz band, and I’ve been teaching for 20 to 25 years,” he says. “A lot of schools in the valley and across the state have jazz bands; I hope we can do more projects like this.”

Merritt says students from Glenwood, Aspen, Basalt, Carbondale, Grand Valley and Eagle schools were chosen to take part, as well as visitors from Summit County, Steamboat Springs, Hayden and Vail’s Battle Mountain school ” as well as the local Waldorf school.

Local jazz artist Tim Fox will be directing the middle school participants in an intensive musical workout on Friday and Saturday. Paul Romaine and Pat Bianchi, members of the Denver-based jazz group Convergence, will be on hand to assist both high school and middle school students in learning their chops.

“These are some really good, solid people,” Merritt says. “Actually, when a lot of us directing heard who’d be helping out, we all asked if we could bring along our own axes and play a bit, too. We’ll see if that happens or not.”

Merritt says the entire weekend was made possible through the help of Jazz Aspen Snowmass, bringing in the guest teachers and extending the offer of tickets to its many summer offerings.

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