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DHS jazz band puts on concert

Jazz is a genre of music characterized by a “strong and flexible rhythmic understructure with solo and ensemble improvisations on basic tunes.” That is the Webster’s Dictionary definition.

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But for members of the Dickinson High jazz band, it’s about a lot more than music. It’s about playing what you love and having a passion for what you play.

The band has been practicing for their first jazz concert since October and now its hard work is looking to pay off. The first DHS jazz concert this year was Monday night at Dickinson High School. The concert featured the 14 members of the jazz ensemble, directed by Keith Traquair.

The band played four pieces.

“Moon Dance,” was the first song. It is a flashy jazz tune that features a vibrant brass section coupled with strong saxophones. The saxophone section includes seniors Luke Ensign and Carly Kubas, junior Daniel Paluck, sophomores Skylar Sparks and Zach Wolfe, and freshmen Alexis Wolfe and Abigail Moberg. It was one of Ensign’s last concerts. He has participated in jazz band all four years of his high school career.

“Act Your Age” was the second song. This tune featured multiple solos and is aided by the two trombones. Junior Tristin Haaland and sophomore Susanna Moberg added much-needed depth and power to the ensemble. The trumpet section, headed by senior David Fehr, starts off the song with lots of bright, crisp articulation. It featured lots of brass, and is a good challenge for the veteran trumpet players. The section included Fehr at first trumpet, junior Reed Johnson on second trumpet, senior Chris Morell on third trumpet and freshman Tiffany Johnson on fourth trumpet.

Fehr has also been in jazz band for four years and he looks forward to the upcoming concert.

“We kick brass,” Fehr said cooly and collectively when asked about the jazz band and any comments about the progress they’ve made this year.

That certainly would be the model for the third tune, “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.”

Again, the song featured strong brass and an accompanying harmony part by the saxophone section. The tune played well. It was made originally in 1966 by Joe Zawinul.

The final song, “Aim High,” was a swing song carefully articulated by the rhythm section of the jazz band. This includes the pianist, junior Jentre Chelgren, junior drummer Jacob Sunshine, and junior bassist Presley Weiler.

There are four seniors representing the jazz band. The seniors are Fehr and Morell, both on trumpet, with Ensign and Kubas on saxophone.

“We’ll really miss the seniors next year,” Traquair stated.

Every Wednesday at 7 a.m., the jazz band was at the school to practice. They have put in a lot of hard work, and were pleased to have friends, family and the community attend the concert.

Of course, this would not have been possible without the continued leadership of Traquair. He has taught jazz band since becoming the DHS music teacher and has played jazz for countless more years.

“We’re playing some cool tunes, and it should be a pretty good concert. Please come out and enjoy,” Traquair said.