“So, you like jazz?”


Mary Sager

Using academic support as an enrichment

Mary Sager

Jazz Band is an ensemble that adds to the musical elements of the Owatonna High School. Jazz is unique. There is written music, but there are improvised solos, and that is the heart of the music. To be able to have confidence to go out and play a solo on the spot shows tremendous skill of the performer. Director Pete Guenther said, “A jazz ensemble setting is no different than a concert band setting because it is extremely academic. It is not like pep band or marching band.”  Jazz is such a unique genre, with room of growth with the use of improvisation, makes it unpredictable, ever changing, captivating genre of music to watch and listen it.

Using Academic Support as an enrichment, the ensemble has the opportunity to practice twice during the week and one day on the weekend. A traditional big band consists of  trumpets, trombones, saxophones, bass, guitar and percussion, but there is much room for variety and change because that is what jazz is. Guenther said, “We play twice a year typically. We do the Toys for Tots benefit and a concert in March and usually go to a regional jazz festival, and we have done a couple of events for the community.” In the past, the ensemble has also been in a silent auction to play for a private party. They have also played for Sunday pancake breakfasts. The Jazz Band has concluded their events for the year with the Jazz Band concert on Sunday, March 4. Students who are interested can talk to Band Director Pete Guenther in the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year.