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A Lot of Brass:

The 48th Annual Jazz Festival
Brings Triumph Galore

Gaiser Hall was swinging Jan. 28-30, as 60 jazz bands from high schools throughout Washington and Oregon competed in the 48th annual Clark College Jazz Festival.

Several soloists were honored with Outstanding Musician Awards.

More than 2,500 jazz fans turned out to enjoy competitive performances by jazz bands ranging from Division A to Division AAAA. 

Music professor and festival director Richard Inouye credited Clark College music students for the success of this year’s program, noting that they worked more than 600 volunteer hours to make the event possible.

“This year I really gave my students the autonomy to run the logistics of the festival, and they rose to the challenge,” he says. “I have to say it ran just flawlessly.”

The Clark College Jazz Ensemble premiered “Baked in the Cake,” a contemporary swing piece written specifically for this group by Washington State University Pullman’s coordinator of jazz studies, Greg Yasinitsky.

“They worked so hard on it,” says Inouye of the ensemble members. “They were very excited to play it and showcase it, especially since many of
the high schools represented were schools they had graduated from, so they were playing it for their peers.”

Clark College President Bob Knight presents the Sweepstakes Trophy to Seattle's Garfield High School band

During the day, groups performed before judges, hoping to earn a spot in the evening’s roster of winners’ performances. On the final evening of the festival, the festival’s top-ranked band – Seattle’s Garfield High School – received the coveted Sweepstakes Trophy, which was presented by Clark College President Robert K. Knight (above).

Inouye noted that, at a time when many schools have had to cut their budgets for elective classes like music, the festival had six bands on its waiting list for the 60 available performance slots.  He called the festival a testament to the ongoing importance of music education – and to the Clark College community.

“The thing I want to give a ‘shout out’ to most is what a Clark College community effort this thing is,” he says. “That’s what I notice every year: how everyone from the college comes out and supports this.”

A list of festival winners is available in the February 1, 2010 issue of Clark 24/7.

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