Jazzatonics fourth at vocal Jazz Championships

Honors for Michael Kennedy

The Jazzatonics, Greene County High School’s jazz choir, placed fourth in Class 3A in the vocal Jazz Championships, held March 28 at Valley High School in West Des Moines. Selection for the Championships is made through a taped audition. It was the sixth consecutive year the Jazzatonics qualified.

Members of the 2016-17 Jazzatonice are Kenna Marquardt, Maddie Schroeder, Nadia Fisher, Kara Betts, Samantha Behne, Claire Teusch, Hannah Promes, Lauren Carlson, Gwen Black, Connor Sims, Michael Kennedy, Edwin Lenchanko, Jack Schilling, Jacob Hanson, Arthur Bardole and Braden Cerveny.

Seniors Schroeder, Marquardt and Fisher received Outstanding Musician recognition for their solos.

Michael Kennedy

Senior Michael Kennedy took home the one of the highest honors, the trophy for Outstanding Male Performer for Class 3A.

Kennedy also earned a spot in the All-State Jazz Choir. He is the first Jefferson-Scranton/ Greene County musician to be in the group.

Auditions for the All-State Jazz Choir are held the same day as the vocal Jazz Championships. The audition is “very difficult,” according to choir director Dave Heupel, including different types of scales, a solo with improvisation, a prepared audition cut, and two sight-singing samples. Heupel credits Kennedy’s private teacher Laura Hinspeter with helping him prepare for the audition.

Twenty singers comprise the All-State Jazz Choir, five on each part. Of those 20, this year four are from Class 3A schools and the others are from 4A schools. The choir will rehearse twice in the next few months, and then they’ll rehearse in Pella for the Vocal Jazz Festival and work with a guest conductor. The group will sing at the Iowa Choral Directors Association’s summer convention.

Last year the All-State Jazz Choir performed as a warm-up group for Groove For Thought, a world-renowned professional jazz group.


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