A Sneak Peak Into Jazz Band

The mid-term elections have arrived and everyone in Alaska has placed their vote to decide the future, but there’s another major event that happens to be occurring that same night; A West Anchorage High School jazz band with arguably some of the most talented youth are performing.

There are many stars in the band that have breathtaking talent, from the trumpets, to the rhythm, to the trombones, and woodwinds. An interesting thing about the band is that many of these players are freshmen and sophomores. Certain players and Mr. Arms himself was able to tell some of their story and what they thought of the concert.

Charlie (Chuckles) Lowell is the lead trombone chair in the band. He is a junior who has been in one of Mr. Arms bands since the 7th grade. In his 3rd year in the band he is used to the pressure that comes with performing in front of hundreds of parents and fellow peers. “This is a very new jazz band. When I first came into this band there were many upperclassmen and a lot of pure talent in the band. Nowadays that’s not the case we only have about three or four seniors in the band,” stated Charlie about the state of the band. When asked about the concert Charlie replied “Now with the concert I was really surprised at how well the band was able to hold it together and handle the pressure very well especially the trombone section.”

Remy Libbrecht is the Alto Saxophone first chair. He has been in Mr. Arms band class for the past four years, as a senior performing now is almost second nature. When asked about the concert, Remy very humbly stated, “It could have been better but it went better than I expected, there are always things you can work on when it comes to performances, it’s a young band and we were playing some challenging music but they did pretty good.”

Normally the band plays at the West High Auditorium with the other five Romig Middle school bands that Mr. Arms also teaches. This time, this was not the case. Due to scheduling conflicts and the expansion of the West Band program, having all the band programs play in one night was not possible.  The orchestras and choir had events during that week as well, which was the only time the programs had a chance to perform there. Numerous sources in the band had very similar consensuses  in stating that the band not being able to perform at the auditorium did not affect their performance, but they wished that they could have had the chance to perform there again.

Freshman Tenor Saxophone player Sam York stated,  “Playing for the first time in this big band was pretty nerve racking, it was something that I had and probably other freshman too had to get over while we were playing. It was really fun though.”

Robert Arms has been teaching music professionally for about 32 years and he has seen many bands over the years. When asked about the past concert Arms stated,  “It was fine the first show out but that’s what happens with the youngsters, they have to step up from a huge level from the middle school bands and so at first they always feel overwhelmed.”

Unfortunately in some aspects not many people recognize the talent that the West High Jazz program has, when asked about this Arms said the contrary in some aspects. “If you’re talking outside of West High school, everybody knows where the best high school band is in the state. Now maybe at West our administration does not realize that.” The next Band concert will be on December 9th at the Romig Gymnasium, hopefully everyone will have a chance to actually see and hear for yourself the talent that is in store.