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posted: 2/28/2014 9:02 PM

Wheeling jazzers nab another Grand Champion trophy

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  • Wheeling High School Jazz Band 1 is named Jazz in the Meadows Grand Champion.

    Wheeling High School Jazz Band 1 is named Jazz in the Meadows Grand Champion.

Submitted by District 214

Wheeling High School Jazz Band 1 is the 2014 Jazz in the Meadows Grand Champion. This is Wheeling's fourth Grand Champion title at JITM and the second in three years.

More than 110 jazz bands and combos representing 62 schools from five states participated in the 29th annual Jazz in the Meadows Jazz Festival, the largest and most highly regarded jazz festival in the Midwest.

After winning Class AAA for the seventh consecutive year, the Wheeling High School Jazz Band earned a spot in the finals.

The finals featured the winning bands from four classes, based on school size. The Wheeling Jazz Band played "Dedication" by Thad Jones in the finals, featuring soloists Patrick Ryan on fluegelhorn, Cesar Mendoza on trombone, Paul Wagner on bari sax, Lewis Monaxios on tenor sax and Eugene Yakubovich on alto sax.

Members of the Wheeling Wildcat Jazz Band I are: Saxophone/woodwinds: Eugene Yakubovich, Matthew Kulczak, Skyler McLenahan, Lewis Monaxios, Erika Pogorzelska and Paul Wagner. Trumpets: Ronny Roth, Kyle Meier, Jesse Villalobos, Patrick Ryan, Billy Broms and Forrest Kiehm. Trombones: Cesar Mendoza, Anthony Gonzalez, Gillian Garnowski, Steven Wagner and Bryan Marban. Rhythm: Isabel Chan, piano; Patrick Ryan and Kyle Meier, guitar; Jacob Bachorski and Kyle Dorcey, bass; Dani Anderson and Matt Browne, drums and percussion. French horn: Cole Dammeier and Lia Decoursey.

"This has been an exciting year for the Wheeling Jazz Bands," said Director Brian Logan.

In September, the bands were awarded The Mark of Excellence Jazz Honors Project National Award. In December, the Jazz Band performed at the Midwest Band Clinic, an annual music conference with over 17,000 attendees. In January, the Wheeling Jazz Band performed as the Honor Band at the Northshore Jazz Festival, and recently the band received invitations to perform at the 2014 Montruex Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the Umbria Jazz Festival and the La Spezia Jazz Festival, both in Italy. Currently, the band is working hard to raise funds for their European performance tour in July.

For more information about upcoming performances, contact Brian Logan, Wheeling High School director of bands, at (847) 718-7111 or

Bands and combos played throughout the day in eight performance rooms throughout Rolling Meadows High School.

Tom Flannigan led impromptu jam sessions for students throughout the day.

The Lowdown Brass Band put on an interactive clinic at noon to a packed crowd in the Gilbert Theater. Students learned about New Orleans style jazz, heard the group play, and came onstage to play with the band.

Lowdown Brass members even went to the jam sessions to play along with the students.

Professional jazz musicians and educators adjudicated the jazz bands and combos throughout the day, and awards were announced at the end of the Grand Finale concert.

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