North Polk’s jazz choirs end their 2019-2020 competition season with Solon Jazz Festival

Sophie Hoffmeier, Staff Writer

*Originally posted on March 9, 2020. Two of North Polk’s Jazz Choirs ended their competition season with the annual Solon Jazz Festival on Friday, Feb. 21. The choirs, Fermata Nowhere and Alleman Way, left early Friday morning to attend the festival. After performing, the choirs watched several other performances from jazz choirs around the state, along with a performance by newly formed jazz quartet Saje.

Alleman Way performed first, singing three songs. Director Tyler Harper led the group onto the stage, while the members of Fermata Nowhere sat in the front row to eagerly support the other choir. The group did their routine mic check, but the sound from the monitors caught the members off guard.

“I’m not a sound tech kind of person,” senior Alleman Way member Caleigh Rosenbalm said. “But the sound was a little bit too loud coming from the monitors. We ignored it the best we could so we could start performing.”

Alleman Way performed their three songs: “That Lonesome Road”, “A Wink and a Smile”, and “Virtual Insanity”, then received a brief on-stage critique before being sent to a seperate room for a more in-depth clinic. The members had time to reflect on their performance during this clinic.

“The performance was average,” Rosenbalm said. “I think it was because of the sound feeling weird to us.”

After their clinic and a brief break, Fermata Nowhere made their way to the stage to perform.

“We performed very well and got second,” senior Fermata Nowhere member Brandon Barr said. “Which is pretty good, considering how sick everyone was.”

Fermata Nowhere sang three songs: “Drive My Car”, “Bumblebee”, and “They Say It’s Spring”, which featured several short improvisation solos by the members.

“The highlight for me was trading fours in our improv section,” Barr said. “Everyone who wanted to solo had the chance to sing.”

The members went through the same on-stage critique and separate clinic process as the Alleman Way crew. Once both groups finished performing, they watched other schools to pass the time before the awards ceremony. Alleman Way received fourth place in 3A, and Fermata Nowhere received second place in 3A.

The jazz choirs required an audition for placement, which took place in October. The members have had many different experiences with performing and practice leading up to their final performance at Solon.

“I think the season went well,” Barr said. “We kept making progress throughout the year and we performed at a high level.”

This year was a first for many non-freshman jazz choir members, and for some seniors like Rosenbalm, it’s their first and last.

“I wish I had joined jazz choir during the previous years,” Rosenbalm said. “I enjoyed this year quite a bit.”