SLV’s First Jazz Band is Off and Running Strong

After years of SLVHS lacking a widely diverse music program, music director Dan Lingenfelter decided enough was enough, and has created our school’s very first jazz band in order to challenge the musically talented at SLVHS.

The members of the band include: Jordan Y. playing flute and piano, Jarod R. on flute and tenor saxophone, Griffin L. on the clarinet, Gage M. on the trumpet, Charlie W. on the piano, Jesse L. on bass, and Aiden L. on drums. All of these musicians have been selected for their musical talent and their dedication to becoming the best musician they can be. The SLVHS music teacher, Dan Lingenfelter, hand-picked these students through a series of tryouts. The students had a rigorous set of requirements in order to make the band, including: being able to play certain scales, and being comfortable improvising or “soloing” by themselves.

The question is, why has it taken the school so long to incorporate this program?

The reason for this “lull” in SLVHS music program is the fact that only in the past few years has the regular band class gained enough members to allow Mr. Lingenfelter to start exploring new genres of music. When it started, the band consisted of about eight people. Now, with over thirty students between the high school and middle school band and choir classes, Mr. Lingenfelter felt it was time to start this new jazz group. As perfectly stated by Jesse Lopez, “It’s about time.”

Mr. Lingenfelter himself has been teaching music for over eighteen years, and has led other jazz bands in the past. When asked what he wanted musicians in the band to learn this year, he said, “I want this band to be a place to challenge more advanced musicians, to help them improve their improvisation skills and their harmonizing.” He has big plans for the band, which include playing at school concerts, assemblies, and even at lunchtimes. Also, if the band works hard and is performance ready by spring, they will perform as the pit orchestra for the drama production of Grease.

Jordan Yanowitz, a veteran of the music program at SLVHS, has been playing music since he was six years old, first learning the piano, and then picking up the flute at age nine. When asked what he was looking forward to this year in the jazz band, he said, “I’m looking forward to playing great music with other talented musicians.” Another skilled member of the band, Jesse Lopez, has been playing guitar for eleven years, but interestingly enough that is not his instrument of choice. Four years ago, he found his love for playing bass and this year he has decided to be the band’s stand-up bass player. Jesse actually plays many different instruments and is interested in all types of music, like punk and rock.

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-2-07-22-pmThe rehearsals for the band will start on Friday, October 14th, where the musicians will all meet together and discuss the year ahead. This band shows that the music program at SLVHS is constantly growing, and it shows promise for the future. When asked his feelings about the new band, Jordan responded, “It’ll be fun and creative, and I think our school needs it.”

By Aiden LeRoux

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