I had a fantastic day last Friday. I took the day off to go see my daughter play at the University of Mary Jazz Festival. The Mandan Middle School Jazz Ensemble did an excellent job. I have to say, I think the band sounds better than it did when I was in school. I think a large part of it has to do with the emphasis on sectionals they are doing now. They have sessions where all the saxophones go off and just work on their part, and all the trumpets and so on. I think it's a lot more efficient than trying to work parts with the whole band. More emphasis is placed on playing your instrument correctly. It really pays off. The band sounded great.
It sure brought back memories. I don't think I've been on the U of M campus since the last time I was in the Jazz Festival. From 7th grade through high school we made the trip out there once a year to play some songs and have a jazz professional critique us and give us pointers. It was also a time to listen to some great bands from other schools as well as the university jazz band. We also got to meet students from other schools. Some of whom play in the same bands I play in today. The nice thing about music is that it doesn't have to end when you finish school.
The campus has changed quite a bit. They've added quite a few rooms. I remember there was just the Arno Gustin hall where the bands played and there was a large common area where you could store your instruments. I also remember playing video games in the arcade. Oh yeah, I wasn't going to talk about video games anymore. And of course it was a treat having lunch at the student union. This was a big deal, especially to a 7th grader. I remember they had great pizza burgers.
Brianna seemed to enjoy herself. She thought it was great getting out of school for the day. She plays flute in the concert band but plays the tenor saxophone for jazz band. She had a solo on a song called, "Chicken Soup". Of course, she did a wonderful job. All the soloists got some nice certificates for participation. I think I still have mine in scrapbooks somewhere.
My hats off to the Mandan Music Program for the excellent work they do educating our young people and the University of Mary for hosting another terrific jazz festival. I look forward to many more!