Pictured: Jr. Bills enjoy some down time in at Cafe DuMonde in New Orleans.
Jr. Bills in Symphonic Band, Jazz Band and Orchestra traveled to New Orleans April 22-24 to perform at the WorldStrides Music Festival, where they earned top awards in several categories. During their trip, they also explored the city and experienced its musical heritage firsthand.
"All three groups performed very well at the festival," says music teacher and band director Jeff Pottinger. "They have all improved so much in the last few weeks. I am very proud of them and their hard work."
Among their achievements at the Music Festival:
- The Jazz Band earned first place overall in instrumental ensembles, including a perfect score from one judge ("I've never heard of that happening before!" says Pottinger);
- The Orchestra received an Outstanding Orchestra award;
- The Symphonic Band received first place for Concert Band;
- SLUH received the Adjudicator's Award for best overall music program; and
- Most importantly, all groups received the highest rating of Gold.
In addition, SLUH had many Outstanding Musician awards. According to Pottinger, these awards are a tremendous honor and very difficult to earn. Following are those recognized as Outstanding Musicians:
- Jazz Band Trombone: Joseph Hartung, Thomas Curdt, Kevin Murati and Anthony Rizzo;
- Tenor Sax: Ezana Ephrem
- Guitar: Handley Hicks
- Violin: Alex Siampos
While in New Orleans, the SLUH contingent also attended a music clinic at Loyola University, a tour of the Laura Plantation, ate lots of incredible food (Cafe DuMonde, Chartres House and Mothers!), and attended a private concert at Preservation Hall Jazz Club.
"The trip was a blessing for our Jr. Bills," says Pottinger, "well beyond the music accolades as they built relationships, experiences and memories to last a lifetime."