The Rocky Heights Middle School Jazz Band performed at the famed Greeley Jazz Festival on April 29.
The festival is in its 41st year and is the largest event of its kind in the nation. This year, more than 275 groups with over 44,500 students and educators came from 14 states and Canada. The festival featured incredible stage concerts, educational workshops and after-hours sessions.
The group of 45 Rocky Heights students was the only all-jazz strings group performing at the festival, which hosts about 200 bands - many of them high school, college and middle school big bands - over three days. Additionally, they were the first middle school band to be allowed to play on the large Monfort Concert hall stage, which is normally reserved only for the high school and college jazz bands. The RHMS jazz band received all #1 Excellent ratings from the judges, and students Vlad Stepanuga and Michael Lentz were cited for outstanding improvised solo.
Joe Anderies, the RHMS band and orchestra teacher said, “Taking a trip like this — an all strings group to a jazz festival — was a bit of a risk, mostly of the unknown. But I have to say, I was so proud of our RHMS orchestra students. They not only performed like professionals, but they were excellent representatives of RHMS and DCSD in their behavior. We received many informal congratulations from students and adults who were in the hall during our performance.”