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WHS Jazz Program

Jazz Program Course Descriptions

Washburn High School’s Jazz Program consists of 2 big bands and multiple combos. The mission of the WHS Jazz Program is to develop our student musicians to excel in jazz through education and performance. Emphasis is placed on the enduring elements and important innovations of this distinct form of American music. The Jazz Program is open to students grades 9 – 12 of all ability levels.  To be considered for either a Big Band or a Jazz Combo, you must be currently enrolled in Band, Orchestra, or Choir, Washburn High School Jazz functions as partial credit-bearing curricular courses on your transcript. 

Big Bands at Washburn High School

Our big bands are modeled after the great swing bands. Big bands have four sections: Saxophone section (5-6 saxes), Trumpet section (4-5 trumpets), Trombone section (4-5 trombones), and a Rhythm section (guitar, piano, bass, drums, and vibes). The WHS Jazz Band will utilize vocalists.

WHS Jazz Ensemble 1

This is the premier big band at Washburn High School and intended for the most advanced and serious jazz musicians. The Jazz Ensemble prides itself on pushing the boundaries through performing challenging jazz literature, utilizing advanced improvisation skills, and performing at festivals and venues. Students are expected to be studying privately on their jazz instrument. The Jazz Ensemble maintains an active performance schedule throughout the year.

Interested students must complete a WHS Jazz Audition to be considered for the Jazz Ensemble.

Rehearsal Schedule:

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday ----- 7:30 – 8:20 a.m. ----- Band Room 121

WHS “Gold Medal” Jazz Band

The “Gold Medal” Jazz Band is intended for developing jazz musicians. This group builds on and expands the fundamentals established, while performing more advanced jazz literature and exploring improvisation more thoroughly. The “Gold Medal” Jazz Band performs multiple times per year, including several festival performances.

Interested students must complete an WHS Jazz Audition to be considered for the “Gold Medal” Jazz Band

Rehearsal Schedule:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday ----- 7:30 – 8:20 a.m. ----- Band Room 121

Washburn Wednesday Jazz

Wednesday —— 7:30 – 8:20 a.m. ----- Band Room 121

On Wednesday mornings, all WHS Jazz students gather in a workshop format to listen to, discuss and talk about important jazz recordings. We learn jazz standards and work on improvisation techniques, and have many opportunities to perform for each other, and discuss the importance, and impact of Jazz to ourselves, and our greater community

Jazz Combos at Washburn High School

WHS Jazz Combos emphasize improvisation, arranging/composing, and performance in a small group setting. In order to be considered for a Jazz Combo, students must complete a WHS Jazz Audition and be a member of a Big Band. Students not participating in a Big Band will be considered at the director’s discretion.  

Rehearsal Schedule: Jazz Combos rehearse once per week on the opposite days of their Big Band. However, members are expected to meet additionally outside of school.

Parent Volunteer Information
Throughout the school year, the WHS Jazz Program utilizes help from our families to make our student experiences run smoothly. Setting up or cleaning up on concert days, volunteering time in preparation for and in running the MPS Fall HS Jazz JAM Festival, and chaperoning trips are all great ways to help out our students and staff. Stay Tuned For more information!


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