After two years off the stage, the Grade 12 jazz band from Okanagan Mission High School is ready to perform at the BC Interior Jazz Festival.
“It brings together the whole jazz community; from students, teachers to professionals, to music fans,” said Megan Frederick, OKM Music Teacher.
“You see students playing [after] working for many months to perfect three pieces, which they perform on stage in front of a jury, then they are graded and categorized.
The top tier group is invited to perform at Music Fest Canada this spring.
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“The idea of being in front of the stage is such a big part of being a musician and being taken for two years, it’s crazy,” Frederick said.
“It adds a lot of pressure but, I think [it’s] more excitement than anything else. We’re just incredibly happy to be able to race this year.
The students have rehearsed and are ready to go back on stage.
“I’m excited to be back, it’s been a while since we’ve done that,” said Grade 12 batsman Gabe Wriding.
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The band hasn’t played due to the pandemic, this weather has only brought them closer together.
“I trust the people in this group and have seen the dedication of our [have] teachers and all students [have]said Ava Hamilton, clarinet.
The strength of the group is attributed to their teacher, Frederick.
“Miss Frederick has been the teacher for all these years and she has made the class really fun,” said flute Emma Strang.
The opportunity to push themselves can even inspire students to become teachers and encourage the next generation of jazz musicians, like Zach Griffin who now teaches at OKM Secondary.
“I remember the excitement of my perspective when I was a student,” Griffin said.
“It’s really great to inspire the students and see the excitement on their faces.”
The non-profit festival runs April 7-9 and the Jazz Artists Showcase Concert is April 5 at 7:30 p.m. All shows are open to the public. For more information on tickets, visit www.bcinteriorjazzfestival.com