Feature Story Sunday June 10, 2012
A Class of Their Own
GW Graham Middle School Jazz Band ace Idaho competitions
GW Graham Jazz and Vocal Band puts on a euphonious performance at Chilliwack City Hall last Tuesday. Below, Mayor Sharon Gaetz presents a Certificate of Achievement to band teacher Janine Webster.
t the last regular evening council meeting on Tuesday, award-winning GW Graham Middle Secondary School Brass Band and the Treble Makers treated City Hall council and staff to an astounding in-house performance.
After their performance in the lobby, band teacher Janine Webster gave an overview in chambers of the forty grade 8-12 students who competed with 10,000 kids from all over the world at the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival in Moscow Idaho last February 24-28, 2012.
Webster told council how proud she was an that the kids really put in a lot of effort and hard work.
"Every February for about 12 years now, I've been taking groups down to the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival through Sardis Secondary and GW Graham," she explained. "Last year we went down and we won our division which was amazing, and this year two of our groups won our division, the vocal being the first group in Canada to win down there."
In the states, the festivals are different than they are here. Here we compete against standards, so we compete against perfection. In the states they actually compete against each other. So that's how it works differently down there than in Canada.
The Treble Makers won their Vocal Jazz Division with three tunes; a swing tune and a ballad and another style, and they sang a Latin song at the LD Church.
Webster told council that two of their singers were recognized by the judges for performing outstanding scat solos; Grade 10 student Emily Janzen and Grade 11 student Brittany Clough.
"Actually, this is the first time I've seen this happen; received commendations and they received certificates from the University of Idaho, which is amazing considering that in the states they consider jazz "their" music and so for us to compete down there is a great honour."
According to Webster, that's the first time that Chilliwack students have received that commendation. Additionally, winning bands perform on the "grand stage" that Webster likened to BC Place Stadium.
"We also came away with the grand prize which happened to be this $2000 Ludwig drum set that we now have in our music room, so our school really benefitted from us going down there."
"We're so proud of the level that they attained which then pushes it up for everybody else and that it was a great honour for them to be recognized by the City."
All the members of the band received certificates of recognition from Mayor Sharon Gaetz who said that the City was proud of their accomplishment in Moscow and devotion to playing.
"I know it takes lots of practice for you to be able to do the things you do, a lot of commitment to your craft, thank you for taking it so seriously."
Gaetz also acknowledged the parents who enabled their kids and encouraged them to get into music and their teacher.
"Janine Webster is a most remarkable teacher in our community, we hear her name over and over and over again, and whenever you hear Janine Webster's name, it's always associated with excellence," said Gaetz.
© Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice
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