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WMS, WHS jazz bands to perform in free Friday concert

WHS jazz band students rehearse Tuesday morning for their Friday concert. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — Need to jazz up your life?

Then attend Jazz Night at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the Worthington Middle School (WMS) gymnasium. The concert, estimated to last one hour, is free and open to the public.

Jazz groups from both WMS and Worthington High School will present jazz standards and new favorites, under the direction of directors Mike Andersen and Jon Loy.

“I program jazz with my students because I believe it’s important to learn about the one type of music that is uniquely American,” explained Andersen.

“Also, I like to play jazz myself, so I want to share that with the students.”

Andersen, who often arranges parts for his young bands so he can include non-traditional jazz instruments like clarinets, French horns, tubas and flutes to accommodate student participation, has 16 sixth-graders who will perform a trio of tunes from composer Dean Sorenson: “Tyrannosaurus Charlie,” “Power Trip” and “A Blues to Grow On.”

The combined seventh- and eighth-grade jazz band includes 19 musicians. They’ll play Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man,” “Café Jazz” by Willie Thomas and “Do It Now” by Matt Marvuglio.

The WHS Trojan Jazz combo is comprised of 23 ninth- through 12th-graders.

“We’ve been meeting since early February and are looking forward to the annual jazz night,” assured Loy.

“Our music this year ranges from rock to swing and features tight harmonies with the ballad ‘As If To Say Goodbye,’” he added. “Several student soloists will be featured on their respective instruments, including bass guitar, saxophone, trombone, trumpet and flugelhorn.”

Following this Friday’s jazz performance, the WHS ensemble is anticipating something even bigger: hosting duties for the Minnesota State High School League’s Region 2AA Jazz Band Festival.

The 2018 festival, scheduled for Monday, April 9, will take place at WHS. More than 400 students from 22 high school jazz bands in the region will be in town to play at two sites and work with six adjudicators throughout the afternoon and evening.

“There will be a lot for jazz fans to appreciate on that day,” assured Loy, noting the jazz festival performances will also be free and open to the public.

The annual WMS Jazz Night takes place at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the WMS gymnasium, 1401 N. Crailsheim Road, Worthington. Admission is free.