Jazz notes billowed out of all four corners of Rolling Meadows High School on Saturday during the school's music boosters' 29th Annual Jazz in the Meadows.
More than 110 jazz bands and combos representing 62 schools from five states participated in what has become one of the largest and most highly regarded jazz gatherings in the Midwest.
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Three song performances kicked off at 8 a.m. and continued every half-hour in various locations throughout the high school including in the library, theater, two gyms and several classrooms. Instrument repair, jam sessions and clinics were also held in classrooms.
Isaiah Sanderman and Ryan Cajandig, students at Fremd High School, stood up and belted notes from their saxophones as their fellow jazz ensemble members played in the background during their final number in the theater.
"We get valuable advice from the judges that we use in future competitions," Sanderman said.
Warren High School senior Pressian Gueorguiev played guitar with his school's jazz combo, directed by Chris Madsen, in the art room. Gueorguiev, who received strong compliments from the adjudicators said, "We appreciate the suggestions we get from the judges -- it reinforces and complements what our ensemble director teaches us."
Parents, students and jazz fans tapped their feet just about everywhere in the school after listening to some of the top jazz bands and combos from Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri.
Even the student metal lockers lining the walls near the library seemed to tremble with sound like wire brush drumsticks on a snare drum.
Silhouetted against sunlight from a large window in the library, Kaitlyn Edicola, a student at Carmel High School, sang solo with her school's jazz band, directed by David Wiebers, performing behind her.
Many of the local jazz bands, including Buffalo Grove High School, have participated in the festival for all 21 years. Fremd High School has participated since 2001.
About 21 adjudicators from colleges, universities, and high schools throughout Illinois, including Jim Kull director of bands at St. Charles High School, worked in teams of three to critique the performances. Adjudicators jumped onstage with the bands and verbally critique their performance with the audience still present.
Several times while critiquing the morning performances, adjudicators suggested that individual instrument speakers be placed behind the musician playing the instrument instead of next to or in front of the musician.
"You have to be able to hear your instrument," adjudicator Todd Kelly of Bradley University said while onstage reviewing Fremd High School's ensemble.
"Our job is to help the students get better," said adjudicator Rob Parton with Capital University, after listening to Schaumburg High School ensemble. "I encourage them to really listen to their own music."
The day's competitive program featured performances in four high school classes, two high school combo classes, a single class for junior high bands, and a class specifically for "second bands" for high schools that support two levels.
Jazz in the Meadows is a celebration of not only jazz music but fine musicianship according to Eileen Hart, the high school's principal.
The 12-hour event concluded with an early evening Grand Finale Concert.