Westfield Area Middle School Jazz Ensemble performs at Mount Horeb Jazz Festival

On March 9, the Westfield Area Middle School Jazz Ensemble participated in the Mount Horeb Middle School Jazz Festival, which included the Madison-area middle schools of Glacier Creek, Kromrey, Verona, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Mount Horeb.

Each band was given a forty-minute performance time slot, which included a workshop, opportunities to listen to their peers, a live performance from a jazz combo of adult musicians, and instrument-specific masterclasses with professional musicians and music educators.

The talented group of clinicians included: director of jazz ensembles at Edgewood College, alto saxophonist Dan Wallach; acclaimed jazz composer and director of the Madison East High School Jazz Orchestra, trumpeter Paul Dietrich; band director from Beloit Memorial High School, pianist Chris Behrens; freelance musician and member of Mama Digdown’s New Orleans Brass Band, trombonist Darren Sterud; Madison-area musician and music educator, bassist Laurie Lang; and UW-Platteville professor, percussionist Dr. Keith Lienert.

Under the direction of Dr. Dan Steward, the Westfield Area Middle School Jazz Ensemble performed the jazz-pop standard “Fever,” followed by the modern ballad “The Evening Sun,” written by Doug Beach and George Shutack, featuring alto saxophonist Tommy Huff.  The band also performed the jazz standard “Minnie the Moocher,” as made famous in the 1930s by bandleader Cab Calloway.  The band concluded their program with the up-tempo rock chart “Area 51” written by Larry Barton.