School transforms into trendy café for concert
Music: Alberta High School of Fine Arts hosts Java and Jazz show on March 22
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 20, 2013 10:38 am
An Okotoks high school is inviting the community out to a night of sipping coffee, sampling decadent desserts and grooving to the sounds of talented young jazz musicians.
Alberta High School of Fine Arts (AHSFA) jazz band and vocal ensemble students are transforming their school into a café for one night as they showcase their musical talents March 22 at 7 p.m. for their Java and Jazz Café.
Junior high jazz students from Red Deer Lake School and École Okotoks Junior High School will also perform.
“It’s really going to be awesome,” said Grade 11 student Leighton Fenske. “It’s going to be a chance to express improvisation for jazz. I don’t think people get to hear it a lot.”
Fenske said he is looking forward to transcribing the sounds of jazz musicians like Miles Davis and Bob Mintzer on the alto saxophone, baritone saxophone and piano.
“It’s a little bit more individual but a little bit more creative,” he said. “There is a lot more risk involved.”
AHSFA music director Nicole Hounjet said the café format allows for a more interactive performance compared to the school’s traditional jazz concerts.
“This is the first time we have done a coffee house like this where they can visit and hear some good music,” she said. “It’s a chance for our kids to get up in small groups and really share what they’ve been working on all year.”
Hounjet said the jazz band and vocal ensemble will perform as a larger group and the students, along with other music students in the school, will perform some of their own pieces.
“It’s really fun to see what they come up with and how they put their own spin on it,” she said. “It’s an nice evening out for folks in the community.”
Bringing junior high students along to perform is a great way to showcase the younger talent in the community and show the younger performers the caliber of music they will likely play in high school, said Hounjet.
“It gives them the opportunity to hear where their jazz development will go as they enter high school,” she said. “Jazz is about listening to people who are better than you and stealing their ideas and adding your own.”
Money raised from Friday’s event will help cover the cost of guest
clinicians who worked with students on such skills as improvisation during the year, said Hounjet.
Grade 12 student Jazz Nipp has been playing piano for 10 years and looks forward to teaming up with others at Friday’s jazz café to play blues songs by Miles Davis.
“The piano acts as the foundation and it creates the structure of the song,” he said. “It’s in the rhythm section.”
Nipp said jazz music is about expression and he enjoys how it often diverges from normal music structures. He also enjoys the opportunity to perform with other students.
“This is good exposure for me but it’s a good environment to practice collaboration with other band mates,” he said. “It’s a good way to showcase fine arts.”
Tickets to see Java and Jazz Café at Foothills Composite High School are $5 or $20 for families at the door. Cakes and pies will be sold along with coffee, tea and other beverages.