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All jazzed up — CK students face spotlights

Music instructor Jacqueline Levenseller led the Klahowya Vocal Jazz ensemble in a practice session at the school on Jan. 6. - Photo by Kelly Everett
Music instructor Jacqueline Levenseller led the Klahowya Vocal Jazz ensemble in a practice session at the school on Jan. 6.
— image credit: Photo by Kelly Everett

Start tapping your toes.

Musical students from local schools will be attending seminars and festivals all over the country.

l Olympic High School’s Jazz Bands, I and II, have formally requested leave-of-absence of the School Board today to travel to Vancouver, Wash., to participate in the Clark College Jazz Festival.

Paul Williams of the music staff and two parents or adult guardians will accompany the kids, who, if the trip’s OK’d, will be leaving Jan. 24 and returning Jan. 25.

In the application, Williams said the kids will have a chance to “Apply their musical skills and knowledge.”

“This is a festival we travel to every year,” he said. “We get a chance to hear the best jazz bands from Washington and Oregon. We perform and receive feedback from three different and top-notch jazz educators and musicians.”

The group of 36 students raised funds for the trip, which cost $1,475. It’s hoped the school district will kick in more than $500.

“This is a competitive festival that serves as an excellent motivation for students to prepare (and ) reach their highest ability level,” Williams said.

l The Klahowya Vocal Jazz group hopes to attend the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho, Feb. 20-22.

Vocal and drama teacher Jacqueline Levenseller and adult volunteer Kerry Rutter will accompany the 16-member jazz group.

“Going to Lionel Hampton’s festival is a real treat,” said Levenseller. “There will be 18,000 kids performing from junior high to college, and from Canada, Alaska, Washington, Idaho ... throughout the Northwest.”

Levenseller said the group performs year-round to hone its skills. They sing for area social clubs, schools and businesses. “The season gets started about now, but the really big festivals are in March and April.”

The group includes a pianist and drummer.

“While we’re there we get a chance to see Lou Rawls and Dee Daniels perform — a real opportunity,” Levenseller said.

The school’s ASB kicked in $1,440, the district kicked in about $1,500. The rest of the $5,530 for the trip was raised by the kids — Talent Shows twice-a-year, bake sales, garage sales, babysitting and yard work.

Levenseller said the group was composed of one ninth-grader, and a few tenth-and 11th-graders. About half are seniors.

“They’re here at 6:30 in the morning to practice. We do about 50 performances a year. One of our members last year has gone on to be Miss Poulsbo — Kristin Eddings now travels all over, singing.”

l The CKHS Band, all 100 strong, wants to attend a collection of festivals and music clinics in Los Angeles.

Their new leader, James Hamontree, informed the board of the advantages of such a trip: Musical essential learnings include playing with characteristic tone, identifying and utilizing musical symbols, performing articulations and rhythms accurately.

“They will learn to exhibit self-confidence, self-discipline and self-motivation,” he said, adding that the versatile performer can play well in small, large, medium and large groups. “Daily effort, teamwork ... proper audience etiquette.”

The group plans to train and perform at the Heritage Festival at the Medieval Times Restaurant and make an appearance at the Pasadena City College clinic and Regional Concert Band Festival, Heritage Music Fest at Magic Mountain. The whole trip will cost $54,934 — a huge portion coming from fundraising.

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