Gabriel Dimaandal, AR Editor

Spring is not just Prom season for Northwood, but also jazz season as Northwood’s jazz bands show off their skills here in Irvine, as well as at the Reno International Jazz Festival at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Every other year, Northwood’s jazz program travels almost 500 miles to participate in the festival along with hundreds of other bands from around the world. The program spent the weekend travelling to Reno in order to perform and learn more about the style of music. 

“Going on this trip is one of my favorite experiences,” Jazz II junior Audrey Harjanto said, “Not only do you get to spend an entire weekend with your friends, you learn so much from all the musicians that are performing or teaching clinics.”

Like with most festivals, each performance was scored by panels of adjudicators. The top five bands from each skill division would be announced on the last night of the festival. By the end of the ceremony, Jazz I Combo won second place and Jazz I was awarded fourth place in their respective divisions.

“When we heard Northwood’s name in the stadium, we all shot up out of our seats,” Jazz I freshman Adam Bauer said, “It didn’t feel like a win for just some of us, but a win for everyone.”

Fresh off this success, the jazz program held their annual Jazz at the Oak concert on May 20, featuring all four big bands, both combo bands, as well as Sierra Vista’s jazz band. Lasting well into the night, each band performed sets ranging from popular tunes like a swing version of “Beauty and the Beast” by Gordon Goodwin to funk charts like “Honk” by Jeff Jarvis.

“I loved so many of the songs that we played. It’s really hard to pick a favorite from the night,” Jazz III sophomore Aynur Kilic said.

The concert was one of the final performances for the jazz program for the year, and also as a fundraiser for Northwood’s instrumental music program as a whole. During the show, the Timberwolf Instrumental Music Boosters (TIMB) held raffles for a various selection of prizes ranging from pairs of Ray-Ban sunglasses to free prom tickets to pens handcrafted by instrumental director Ben Case. The highlight of the raffle was the six pairs of park-hopper tickets for Disneyland as well as a $500 Amazon gift card provided by Mike Dunn. At the end of the night, Dunn offered another $500 Amazon gift card as a surprise raffle.

As the school year draws to a close it also means members of the jazz program will once again be performing in Northwood’s Marching Band for the fall season. Preparations for their upcoming performances are well under way—the theme of the show will be revealed on June 1.