Jazz Band of America

Taylor Gowan, Mirada Staff

Duncan McElman and Gabe Carpenter for being selected for the 2017 Jazz Band of America, the highest honor in high school jazz.

Jazz Band of America is a national honor jazz band comprising the finest young musicians in America today, selected by a national competitive audition. Seniors Duncan McElman and Gabe Carpenter recently made the cut for the prestigious Jazz Band of America.

“I received an email in early December and originally I was upset because the subject line said ‘acknowledgment email’ and that doesn’t sound very promising,” said McElman. “But then I opened it up and I was really surprised.”

Jazz Band of America consists of all high school musicians who are selected by a recorded audition. It gives the students an opportunity to meet world renowned conductors, take part in master classes with professionals, and they’re even eligible for the Revelli Scholarship, a $1,000 scholarship.

“We get to go to Indianapolis for 5 days in march to work with top of the line professional directors at a huge national convention with an internationally renowned guest artist,” Said McElman.

To audition for the award McElman sent an unedited video of himself with two jazz standards, plus for his instrument he was required to do an Ensemble of himself playing a part without improvising to demonstrate his technique and low range on a flawless level.

“I will play not only for a group of other musicians accepted to other national programs (orchestra, wind ensemble, ect.), I will also be performing for college professors as well as professional musicians and the general public,” said McElman.

The Jazz Band of America is known to have the reputation for having the highest honor in high school band. Members of the applied music faculty from some of our country’s leading universities evaluated the students recordings that were submitted.

“I feel really humbled to be in such prestigious company, and humbled to think that others think just as highly of me as I do of them,” said McElman. “It’s a really prestigious group and it brings a lot of honor to the school and I’m really happy to represent Rio on the national stage like this.”