| Each year, the Ogden junior high and high school jazz bands take time to rehearse and prepare music from an era gone by. The days of dance halls are long gone, however, the music is still performed and the tunes widely regarded as standards.
The Roger Britton Jazz Band Dance pays tribute to this era and genre of music. This year will be the 15th year for the event. It celebrates the life of the late Roger Britton, who served as Ogden High School's instrumental music director from the 1993-1994 school year until the 1997-1998 school year. He believed big band jazz is an extremely important part of music history and, as with any type of history, students need to appreciate and understand it in order to better interpret how it has evolved into today's music. Students may not realize that tunes like "In the Mood" and "Take the A Train" are meant to be danced to, not just listened to. And they need to be played as dance music - with a consistent and "danceable" beat. It was also important to Roger that kids grow up knowing and recognizing traditional jazz tunes and, as musicians, are able to play them.
For the past four years, dance attendees have also danced to the music of the Boone Big Band, an adult group from the Boone area who performs for a variety of functions. High school director Nate Newhard invites the group to perform at the dance as a way for students to see what can lie ahead for them in the performance realm. Opportunities such as this play an important role in an ongoing appreciation for jazz music. Ogden High School's Jazz I ensemble has received much recognition for their high level of performance in jazz music. They have been invited to play in the statewide Iowa Jazz Championships four of the last six years.
The dance this year will be held Saturday, May 5 in the Ogden High School Cafeteria. This is a change of venue from past years. The performing ensembles: the Ogden Junior High Jazz Band (under the direction of Jana Higgins), High School Jazz I, and the Boone Big Band, will begin at 7 p.m. Beverages and snacks will be served, and a freewill offering will be taken. All proceeds go to the Ogden Music Boosters.
The Ogden High School Jazz I members will have a full plate Saturday, May 5 as they will also be performing in the concert band at State Large Group Contest in Lake View prior to the dance at 3:50 p.m.
Three of the High School Jazz I members have also received the distinction of being a member in the upcoming All-State 1A/2A Jazz Band. Maddie Diggs, Allison Melchert, and Jill Powers will perform in this prestigious ensemble Wednesday and Thursday, May 9 and10 in Des Moines. Ogden's three members of this ensemble puts them at the top of the list for number of participants per school.
This year's band members include:
High School Jazz I
Alto sax: Marissa Elsberry, Kara Kieffer; tenor sax: Mikayla Maves; bari sax: Katie Stahr, Jon Thompson; trumpet: Toby Clark, Patrick Good, Olivia Johnson, Micah Levi, Allison Melchert; trombone: Andrew Dailey, Maddie Diggs, Grant Heineman, Jill Powers, Colton Thrane, Allen Waterbury; piano, Megan Kennedy; bass, Zachary Britton, Jackie Lawler, Ashton Summerhays; percussion, Zane Satre.
Junior High Jazz Band
Flute: Maddy Loecker; clarinet: Kennedy Hiles, Breanna Knight, Maryssa Soder; alto sax: Austin Bebb, Sydney Diggs, Charlie Klauenberg, Conner Paulsen, Ally Rubin, Jon Shai Van Sickle; bass clarinet: Bradley Gregory; tenor sax: Zachary Waterbury; bari sax: Derek Reutter; trumpet: Anna Clark, Tristan Frantum, Avery Germer, Michael Ramold; trombone: Zane Buxton, Kimberly Christensen, Jeff Olson, Kameron Wheelock; piano: Savannah Baugh-Clark, Kylie Nichols, Storm Wagner; bass: Harry Haglund; percussion: Austin Flynn, Andrew Haberer, Emily Kallem, Nathan Kennedy, Anna Langel.