Yesterday, ambitious students auditioned for a chance to get into the RBHS jazz band for the 2015-16 school year, and those auditions continue tomorrow. The first day held tryouts for trumpets, trombones and saxophones. Other musicians will tryout tomorrow.
Sophomore trumpet Christian Candia said jazz auditioning is less competitive than those of previous years, possibly due to less jazz experience for current middle school students.
“In my opinion,” Candia said, “this year’s audition material is a lot easier than last years. Maybe it’s due to middle schools not having proper jazz programs anymore. They do have a jazz club, but they only have limited time to practice.”
CPS middle schools no longer have a jazz program in their curriculums because of middle school grade changes. Junior high schools used to have jazz in ninth grade, and jazz is still available to freshmen. However, after junior high and middle schools merged, a true jazz program no longer remained.
Despite the changes in the district’s middle school jazz curriculum, jazz isn’t completely gone. There is an after-school program for interested students.
Jazz band director Steve Mathews also said that students are getting less practice in school.
“Well, they took jazz out of the curriculum during the regular school day, like a regular class we have,” Mathews said. “So they do have jazz one day a week after school, but they don’t meet everyday like they used to.”
Mathews said this lack of experience could affect the talent levels of new students.
“I think it does a little bit,” Mathews said. “We don’t get many kids who have played in jazz bands, so they don’t know much about it.”
Junior trumpet Aaron McCray also believes there may be a difference in their performances, but students will adapt to the school’s top-notch program.
“I think it could overall affect the quality of the band in the performances,” McCray said. “But you see, we have a really great program here at Rock Bridge, so Mr. Mathews and Mr. Sullivan will be able to whip them in shape.”
Candia said the entire auditioning process will be compelling to watch. This year’s freshmen are one of the first to enter RBHS without a thorough jazz program in the past.
“I think they will be interesting,” Candia said “It will give me a chance to hear how good the incoming freshmen are.”
By Faaris Khan