Nine Musicians qualify for elite program in All-Region Jazz band


Regan Munstedt

Senior Patrick Tierney, junior Grace Kopca, senior Keltan Forrest, junior Christian Wilson, senior Yoni Zetune, senior Collin Burns, junior Logan Allen, senior Esteban Rodriguez, senior Aiden Johnson, senior Salim Villanueva, junior Kaitlyn Hamilton and senior Jason Duong practice for Jazz All region

Regan Munstedt, Opinion editor

    Jazz All Region, where the best musicians were selected to perform in elite ensembles, took place on Sept. 20 at Plano West High School.

    “Jazz All Region is obviously a different style and we have an improv solo,” senior jazz band member Anila Krasniqi said.

    The improvisation solo portion of the audition is where each jazz student has the opportunity to show off their best technique, as they choose what they play. A track is provided prior to the audition, and each student plays along with the recording, giving them the opportunity to play what they are best at and to show their creativity.

    “Also, the pieces are more jazzy and more swing,” senior jazz band member Caleb Lawson said.

    Differing from standard All Region, Jazz All Region gives each player an opportunity to project their skill as a jazz musician rather than a classical musician.

    “I think I have a good chance at making All Region, but the alto saxophone room is always really tough,” Lawson said.

    It is a tough challenge to make All Region for jazz when competing against a multitude of high school students for a limited amount of spots. Unlike classical All Region, Jazz All Region only has two ensembles that musicians can make, restricting the possibility of making it past the audition phase even more so. To make it even more difficult, only certain instruments are eligible to audition.   

    “I had to learn a new instrument, but if you know clarinet, it’s not that much harder to learn saxophone,” Krasniqi said.

    Many instruments are not considered jazz instruments, so some students, such as Krasniqi, opted to learn a new instrument so they could still be a part of the Jazz Ensemble. Krasniqi learned to play tenor saxophone, just as many tuba and euphonium players opted to play trombone. Over the summer, many of the Jazz Band members began learning their etudes, either by themselves or with the help of a private lessons teacher.

    “I have a private lesson teacher and the band directors helped as well, but for the most part the learning is done outside of class,” Lawson said.

    Mark DeHertogh, the Jazz instructor, offered his help and expertise to each of his jazz students with their etudes, but the job of actually learning the notes and rhythms fell to the students themselves.

    “We had the most students of any school in the region,” DeHertogh said.

    Students Morgan Castleberry, Collin Tidwell, Kevin Kinney, Adhar Brooks, Travis Chudej, Brennan Shrestha, Michael Nguyen, Daniel Davidson and Rishab Thadani all were selected to participate in the Jazz Region Bands. Having nine musicians qualify for All Region Jazz surpasses the amount of students that qualified last year for Plano’s Jazz program.