03/08/12 On Friday, March 2nd, the Plymouth High School Jazz Ensemble competed in the annual Indiana State School Music Association’s (ISSMA) Jazz Contest.  At this event, the Plymouth Jazz Ensemble entered two groups in the “Jazz Combo Division.”  A jazz combo is defined as a small performing group with no more than nine musicians in each group.  “Performing as a combo is usually a pretty difficult task as you have to re-score a lot of the music and each student must be totally accountable for their music,” said band director Bryan Ames.  “We are also judged on how well our students perform on improvisational solos.”

The first group to perform was the Intermediate Jazz Combo.  For this group, senior Michael Berger was the soloist that was evaluated.  This group included Kent Gosky and McKenzie Goble on saxophones, Tylor Borggren and Tonya Roeder on trumpets, Michael Berger and Anthony Boener on trombones, and Lindsey Holloway, Konnor Smith, and Charles Arce in the rhythm section.   This combo earned the top score of a Gold Rating from all three judges.

The second group from Plymouth was the Advanced Jazz Combo.  In this group, Jack Garrison and Eric Johnson both gave solo performances.  This group included Justin Buchert and Kyle Barry on saxophones, Taylor Jones and Libby Read on trumpets, Jack Garrison and Eric Johnson on trombones, and Patrick Gouverneur and Charles Arce in the rhythm section.  Jack Garrison also performed a piano solo during one of the selections.  This group also earned the top score of a Gold Rating (and nearly perfect scores) from all three judges.

The jazz program at Plymouth has earned consecutive Gold Award ratings for many years.  These outstanding performances also complete the third requirement for the PHS band department to earn the prestigious “All-Music Award” from ISSMA.  To get this award, a band program must earn Gold Award ratings in marching band, solo and ensemble district contest (in Group 1), jazz contest, and concert band contest.  Plymouth is one of a small group of schools in Indiana that have earned this state recognition annually for nearly a decade.

Congratulations to all of the members of the Plymouth High School Jazz Ensemble on an outstanding performance at the jazz festival.