All that Jazz


Zachary Langager

The Jazz Band playing at Toreys restaurant in Owatonna

Zachary Langager, Writer

OHS Jazz Band consists of a group of students that like to play their instruments and express their unique ways of playing. Mr. Peter Guenther is the adviser for jazz band here at OHS. He has been directing for 27 years and jazz band has been in Owatonna for 50 years. A few things that Mr. Guenther likes about jazz band is when a soloist works really hard on something and looks in their “tool box” for ideas on chord changes and how the style of music goes. Another thing Mr. Guenther likes is competition. About 20 years ago, the jazz band went to Lake City, playing and winning the lower class category. They also won second in the Eau Claire Jazz Festival. Mr. Guenther said, “A highlight that I have is having Mr. Elstad singing a Frank Sinatra piece of music with the group because that just doesn’t happen and to have a superintendent who cares so much about the arts to do that is just unprecedented. That is an oddity.”  Mr. Guenther gives credit to his mother for introducing him to jazz.

Freshman Maclean Pilcher has always been interested in and participated during middle school and joined in high school. Pilcher loves working with the group and making new friends. Pilcher said, “I like to play harder music because we as musicians get better by playing harder music.” Pilcher’s main goal for jazz band is playing lead trumpet and improving his playing. Mr. Guenther makes it easier and more fun for Pilcher to be in jazz band and gives him a  great opportunity to become a better musician. Pilcher said, “You most definitely will have to practice your part to become better.”

Senior Miles Kuhn has participated in jazz band since he was in middle school. Jazz band has helped him become a better trumpet player and now reading music in Concert Band is easier than his freshman year. Kuhn plans on being in jazz band in college. Kuhn said, “Jazz band is a really fun activity that you will learn a lot from and to become a better musician.” One of Kuhn’s best jazz band memories is the Robert Bacharach concert he was able to play in. Kuhn said, “I will never forget this concert because Robert would have the jazz band do harder songs and he would interact with the group,”

This group practices every Sunday nights from 7 – 9 p.m. The next concert will be on April 25, at 7 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church.