Pella Jazz One competes at Jazz Champs


Grayson Parisee

The Pella Jazz One competed in the Iowa Jazz Championships recently on Tuesday, April 2. The event is held annually on Iowa State’s campus. Sixty bands from the state qualify to compete every year based on class. Pella has done very well historically, celebrating 18 championship titles in the 40 years of the ensemble’s existence.

The day was full of different team-building activities, beginning with breakfast at PHS attended by students and family.  After breakfast, the group headed to the square to take pictures with the signs before getting on the bus for Ames.

“The morning of jazz champs is always super fun and exciting. We get to spend time with people that we wouldn’t hang out with usually.  We get to bond over stories that we’ll all remember, pictures that we’ll always have, and do it all in a fun, more social way,” said senior vibes player Troy Miller.

The band performed once in the day and then earned their spot to play in the night show. The Pella Jazz One has made the night show consistently over the last forty years.

“Performing for the afternoon show was a lot different than how we usually approach playing at a competition because we weren’t nervous,” said junior tenor saxophone player Lin Nikkel.  “We had the mindset that it was more about having fun together and playing well.”

After two high-quality performances, great team building, and enough juice, Pella High’s Jazz One earned the championship trophy, perfectly ending the day. The group is very glad to bring home the first championship trophy in four years.

“We were really happy with the performances we had,” said junior trumpet player Colton Van Zanten.  “But we knew that at the end of the day it didn’t matter how we place because it was about playing jazz and becoming better musicians.”