Gilbert’s Highland High hosts jazz festival; Byron Stripling, Rufus Reid to perform - East Valley Tribune: Gilbert

Gilbert’s Highland High hosts jazz festival; Byron Stripling, Rufus Reid to perform

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Posted: Tuesday, April 2, 2013 5:50 pm

Want to hear some jazz? The place to be is Gilbert’s Highland High School this weekend.

The school is hosting its fourth annual jazz festival. But this year, it’s partnering with the ASU Jazz Band, which will open for concerts Friday and Saturday nights.

Some of the top names in jazz will be at the festival, including Byron Stripling and Rufus Reid. More than 40 junior high and high school jazz bands from across Arizona will participate. Students will attend clinics and master classes, as well as perform for judges and live audiences.

The community can visit Highland’s auditorium Thursday, Friday or Saturday to listen to the school bands perform. Tickets are required for the concerts Friday and Saturday evening.

Funds raised from the jazz festival help the entire band program at Highland.

“Some of our instruments are 30 years old. It helps get us new instruments, repair instruments, pay for copyright licenses for music for our shows,” Tammi Lehnertz, jazz festival vice president said. “There are a lot of expenses to operating a band. This is our biggest fundraiser for the whole year. It helps offset the costs parents would otherwise have to pay to keep the band running.”

Last year, the band used funds to purchase brass and percussion instruments and give scholarships for students for band fees or trips. More than 500 students participate in the music programs at the high school – including the choral and instrument programs. The recent spring tour took 250 students to a music festival in California. All four groups – symphonic band, wind ensemble and two orchestras – earned superior ratings.

“The more we can do, the more opportunity our kids can have,” she said. “This year’s jazz fest will be so important just to keep us operating, much less doing all the extra doings.”

Highland/ASU Jazz Festival

Where: Highland High School, 4301 E. Guadalupe Road, Gilbert

When: School bands perform Thursday, Friday and Saturday and are open and free to the public. Times vary. Evening concerts will be 7:30 p.m. Friday (Byron Stripling performing) and Saturday (Rufus Reid performing). $15 for students/seniors; $20 for adults. Tickets available online or by calling (480) 543-7315.


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