The Lakewood High School jazz band “11th Avenue” traveled down to Oregon this April and took first place at the 44th annual Pleasant Hill Jazz Festival.
Lakewood’s band competed in the largest division.
The band has headed down to the festival each since it was started at the school.
“Our jazz band program is still growing and it’s only three years old,” said Katy Trapp, music director for the school.
She said she knew the students were doing well after their initial performance.
“The way the judges spoke I was confident because they were very complimentary,” said Trapp.
They still were surprised to be one of two teams in their division to advance though.
“We were all a little shocked when we heard that we got into the finals,” said Trapp.
“There was a whole lot of screaming and yelling because we were very excited,” she said.
However, anxiety crept back in once the students were preparing to give a performance in the final round.
“As soon as we got into the practice room they all immediately started getting pretty nervous,” said Trapp.
“I had to tell them they didn’t have anything more to prove and that our jazz band program is younger than most of them out there, but we’re still walking home with a trophy no matter what happens next,” she said.
After giving their performance and waiting for all the other bands to perform as well the winners were announced and Lakewood High School’s band was given first place in their division.
“We didn’t even hear who else won because there was so much laughing and excitement,” said Trapp.
As is tradition with the band, the seniors got up to accept the award.
Lakewood High School students also brought home two solo awards for Alex Williams in the instrument division and Julia Williams in the vocal division.
Trapp said festivals help students get a better feel for what jazz can sound like.
“A big part of jazz is listening,” she said, “so hearing other kids their age doing jazz is an amazing learning experience.”
The Pleasant Hill Jazz Festival also provides workshops with jazz professionals that many students got to partake in.
“Those are things that I couldn’t offer in the classroom,” said Trapp.
Trapp has been with the district for 11 years.
Lakewood High School’s music programs have grown since then, she said, starting out with a jazz choir, but not jazz band, and a marching band of about 18 people.
Now the marching band has around 60 students and a jazz band of about 20 people is now a part of the school.
“They’re putting in the work and just growing every year,” said Trapp.
“The kids who have been in the band two years are now teaching the new members,” she said.
Trapp said she was happy with the recent performance by her students, especially since she missed a large portion of the year due to back surgery so students didn’t have as much time to prepare.
“I couldn’t be more proud,” she said. “I love getting to work with these students.”