There’s something wholesome about seeing high school students, dressed in jackets and ties, and dresses, carrying their instruments to their performance venue. Expect that and more when high school and middle school jazz ensembles descend Saturday on Buffalo Grove High School for its second annual Chicagoland Jazz Workshop. And the public is invited.
Multiple jazz combos and bands are coming from Elk Grove, Lake Zurich, Libertyville, Prospect, Warren Township and Wheeling high schools, as well as Cooper Middle School and Buffalo Grove’s ensembles.
The event starts at 8:15 a.m., with jazz performances throughout the day from eight suburban schools. The day concludes with a 6 p.m. performance by special guest artist, the Chris Madsen Quartet.
If it sounds like Jazz in the Meadows, which has been going on for more than 35 years at Rolling Meadows High School, it is. But with a slightly different twist. The Buffalo Grove jazz workshop was created by its band director, Vince Genualdi, who performed at Jazz in the Meadows when he attended Elk Grove High School. Suffice it to say, he loved being surrounded by so many other students who loved playing jazz as much as he did.
Genualdi would go on to major in music education at the University of Illinois, play in its marching and jazz bands, and lead the Marching Illini as drum major his senior year. Consequently, immersing students in as many performance opportunities as possible, drives him.
“The learning is when the magic happens.”
That’s how Genualdi envisioned the Chicagoland Jazz Workshop, putting an emphasis on the learning that goes on in the 40-minute clinics with college and professional musicians.
In other words, there are no prizes or bragging rights at stake for the best performance. Saturday’s workshop is about playing in front of college professors and professional musicians, and getting their feedback on how to play better. Clinicians work with each band on stage immediately after their performance and then in the band or orchestra room afterwards for a longer session.
“The clinicians rehearse with them as they would with their own college program,” Genauldi says. “Anytime you can expose your kids to high level clinicians, the only by-product is success.”
The Buffalo Grove jazz workshop is timed one month before Jazz in the Meadows, which takes place Feb. 24, its 39th; and two months before the Mundelein High School Jazz Invitational, which takes place March 9, its 57th. Consequently, these young jazz ensembles can take feedback from the clinicians back to their band rooms to improve their performances for these next events.
A highlight will be hearing Chicago-based saxophonist and composer, Chris Madsen and his quartet perform. Madsen earned degrees in Jazz Studies from DePaul University, the Juilliard School and the University of Illinois. He has performed and recorded with such names as Paul Simon, Bobby Short and Wynton Marsalis, and now is the Director of Jazz Studies at Loyola University.
Admission is $10/adult, $7/students and seniors. Purchase tickets, here, or at the door. Visitors should enter at the school’s theater entrance (Door 6).