Jazz Band competes at Duke Ellington Jazz Festival

The Jazz Band preparing to perform at the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival. Photo Credit: pcpbigband Instagram page

JBy Jazlyn Jimenez ’20

The Jazz Band competed at the 2019 Duke Ellington Jazz Festival at Whitney Young High School on Feb. 16. The Jazz Band performed at 2 p.m. in a competition with other high schools in Chicago.

“The competition went really well,” expressed junior Diego Rodriguez.

Unlike the 2019 Berklee High School Jazz Festival that the Jazz Band competed in Boston last month, this competition did not have any placements. “There were no placements because it was more of an opportunity to be professionally judged and get constructive feedback,” explained Rodriguez.  Instead of performance placements, the judges presented best section awards.

The Jazz Band did very well as they received a ton of positive feedback from the panel of judges. The Jazz Band also received an award for having the best trumpet players and were told by all the judges that they played very well, explained Rodriguez. The judges also expressed that the Jazz Band’s “feel was the best from that morning,” added on senior Natalie Santillan.  

“I think we have gotten much better, but we can still improve,” expressed junior Kevin Arguello.

Adding on, Santillan stated, “We played our best and we always have fun because that is what really matters.”

As of right now, the Jazz Band does not have anymore upcoming competitions that they know of; however, the Jazz Band is expecting to perform at an art fair in the beginning of June.

The Jazz Band puts a lot of time in to prepare for these performances. They have practices every Tuesday and Thursday after school until 6 p.m. However, if they have an upcoming competition, Band Director Benjamin Das will hold  extra practices on the weekends or on days that students have no school from 9:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m.

During these practices, Das likes to focus on the details. “We usually prepare by diving deep into the music and getting really into the details; by doing this, we can insure we can do the best that we can,” explained Santillan.