District jazz prepares for upcoming festival


Connor George

Jazz musicians performed for holiday concerts and select musicians will now participate in District Jazz Jan 20 and 21.

Emma McCloskey , Guest Reporter

District Jazz is to be held on Jan. 20 and 21 at the high school. The hosts and jazz members have been preparing for all year. 

Director Larry Detwiler is one of the hosts for District Jazz.

It is important for the students, so I don’t mind hosting it at Altoona especially since we have the facilities to make it work,” Detwiler said. 

In order to prepare, Detwiler has to arrange for the guest conductors, make the folders and send them to the students, arrange for food and run the festival.

“[The students]  practice the music on their own before the festival,” Detwiler said.

Detwiler hopes District Jazz continues and that the participation grows.

“It is always a great festival and the concert is always very good. The students really seem to enjoy this festival,” Detwiler said.

Alexandria Hamel is one of the members who will be participating in District Jazz playing the trombone. 

“District Jazz has been a part of my family since my older sister, so I knew I would do it. It’s just a matter of am willing to risk not getting in and beating myself up about it and not wanting to do it again next year or am I will to put myself out there say oh I didn’t make it I’ll do it again next year. It was all a matter of the fact if you’re willing to, and if you’re me, you don’t like playing solos, so you don’t like to put yourself out there,” Hamel said.

District Jazz is a combination of everybody in the district who wants to audition and wants to be a part of the jazz concerts.

“From Altoona I know there’s me, Charlotte Boyle, Justin Fleck, Lukas Caracciolo, Austin Parker, Alex Hamel, Tyler Latten, Noah Hillard, Hailey Frontino, Damian Crider, JJ Steinbugl, Brandon Diehl, Jack Kuhns, Sarah Saylor, Parker Cook and Angela Petrarca,” Hamel said. 

There are three bands, and 16 members in each band. Overall, there are 42 students participating in District Jazz.

“So all the instruments that would be considered jazz instruments would be alto sax, tenor sax, berry sax, trombones, Trumpets, guitars, bass, drums, and pianos, and all of those would be in every band, and every band, there would be three altos, three tenors, four trombones, four trumpets, two drummers, a guitar, a bass, approximately two pianos and three for vocals,” Hamel said. 

Hamel was ready to start District Jazz when Detwiler brought it up to them. 

“My favorite thing about District Jazz is being able to play with other people you don’t necessarily know, so meeting new people, but overall it’s a great opportunity to make more friends and do what you love, which is make music,” Hamel said.

District Jazz will be held in the school’s auditorium this year. 

“Since it’s in Altoona this year, the home school director is Mr. Detwiler. From my sister’s experience in District Jazz, everyone running it did really well and was really passionate about it.,” Hamel said.

If interested to see what they have been working on, the festival is at 6:30 p.m. both nights.