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Pella Students take on All-State Jazz Band


Congratulations to sophomore Annaleigh Babcock, freshman Isaac Piersma, and senior Adam Start for making All-State Jazz Band! Reporter Jaedyn Witzenburg interviews Babcock and Piersma about their experience auditioning for all-state jazz band.

Annaleigh Babcock:

Q: What process did you have to go through to get nominated for all-state jazz band?
A: We sent in pre-recorded audio files of ourselves playing over a sample etude the Jazz Educators of Iowa gave us, played a scale to demonstrate our range and improvised over standard blues chord changes. The judges listened to all the files blindly and selected the students to make the ensemble based off of which players they wanted in their ensemble.

Q: What did it mean for you to be chosen for all-state?
A: For me, being chosen is a great honor. I’m very excited to get to play with a variety of other students who have a passion for jazz across the state.

Q: What is some good advice you have for students who are planning on auditioning for all-state jazz band in the future?
A: I would tell future students who want to audition to focus on style and execution of the main idea of the etude and the chord changes, rather than making sure every note is perfect.

Q: Why do you enjoy jazz music?
A: I enjoy jazz music because it revolves heavily around the artists creating the music and often on the spot in terms of improvised soloing. We have a lot of freedom with how we play the music, and we get to play many different styles of music.
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Isaac Piersma:

Q: What process did you have to go through to get nominated for all-state jazz band?
A: The process we went through to get into all-state was a lot of practice. We got the audition materials back at the end of January and auditioned via an audio recording at the very end of February, so we had around a month to work on the materials. We would work on all-state a little bit during jazz band practice, but for the most part, we had to work on the materials on our own.

Q: What did it mean for you to be chosen for all-state?
A: It is a big honor. It’s really humbling to have a lot of hard work pay off, and it’s nice to be able to see that hard work come out through the audition process.

Q: What is some good advice you have for students who are planning on auditioning for all-state jazz band in the future?
A: The advice I have for people wanting to audition is to practice the materials as much as you can. Work on the music the day you get it until the day you audition. There’s going to be so many amazing musicians from all around Iowa who are working to get the same spot that you are. The best way to earn your spot is to work at the materials as much as you can.

Q: Why do you enjoy jazz music?
A: I enjoy jazz music because, from a drummers perspective, it allows you to express your personality through your instrument. The drummer’s role within jazz music allows for a lot of room to show your personality with dynamics, styles, licks, and combinations. It makes every drummer sound uniquely different, and it makes the drummer’s role fun and exciting.

About Jaedyn Witzenburg