The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

Staff Profile
Sadie Bodzin
Sadie Bodzin
Culture Co-Editor

Jazz Band Kicks Off With Auditions

City High Jazz Bands kick off season with auditions
Last+year%E2%80%99s+Jazz+Ensemble+competes+at+the+Jazz+In+the+Meadows+competition
Estelle Hartz
Last year’s Jazz Ensemble competes at the Jazz In the Meadows competition

As the school year begins, band directors Aaron Ottmar and Michael Kowbel prepare for the start of jazz band ensembles.

“Jazz is one of our essential programs here, [and] kids really love it because it’s the closest thing to the music they listen to,” said Kowbel. “Pop, Rap, [and] R&B [were] all born from jazz.”

The beginning of jazz band is exciting for many students. 

“Community and being social are absolutely a huge part of playing jazz. Getting to know your bandmates and spending time with them can make playing with them so much more fun, and you’re able to be so much better as a band if you’re working with people who are your friends,” said Linus McRoberts ‘26. 

Jazz band is where a group of people who enjoy the same thing can work together and learn from one another. 

“The people there want to be there and care about band and it makes it an awesome community and group of people,” said Janie Owens ‘25. 

Owens feels that jazz is a learning opportunity and can help her improve her skills through a different kind of music.

“Jazz music is something I like learning about because it’s different than any other kind of music,” said Owens. “It has a good feel and I like growing as a musician particularly in the jazz field because it helps me in other musical aspects in different groups and instruments because of the different structure and techniques.” 

City High jazz bands include Jazz Workshop, Jazz Lab, Jazz Collective, and Jazz Ensemble. Each band will go on to compete in jazz band competitions across Iowa and attend annual competitions like Jazz in the Meadows, which is held in Chicago annually. To be a part of one of the four jazz bands, there is an audition process, which took place the week of September 4th. 

“Everybody has a different approach to what they want to do and I think that allows us to place everyone accordingly,” said Ottmar. 

Students were asked to play a couple of etudes, scales, and read an excerpt of music along with an optional improvisation solo in their jazz band auditions.

“It can definitely be stressful at times, but because I know that it will be worth it in the end, it can take some of the edge off,” said McRoberts. 

Jazz Ensemble, City’s top jazz band, will start rehearsals within the next couple of weeks following auditions. 

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Estelle Hartz
Estelle Hartz, Assistant A&E Editor
Shot for the moon, came out a star
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