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March 4, 2014 > Jazz Ensemble glows

Jazz Ensemble glows

Submitted By Queenie Chong

ItÕs Superior!
ItÕs Unanimous!
ItÕs HopkinsÕ Jazz Ensemble!

Over a period of nine days, the Jazz Ensemble of Hopkins Junior High School, Fremont, brought home two ÒUnanimous SuperiorÓ ratings at local jazz festivals held 40 miles apart across the San Francisco Bay.

At the California Music Educators Association (CMEA) Jazz Festival, held on January 31, at Aragon High School in San Mateo, Hopkins earned the highest possible rating of ÒUnanimous Superior.Ó

To top this off, the same group received ÒUnanimous SuperiorÓ again, at the Campana Jazz Festival held at Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton on February 8; the group was also awarded 2nd Place in the Middle School Division. Its trumpeters gained an ÒOutstanding SectionÓ award, while two bassists received scholarships for summer music camps in the Bay Area and throughout California.

Under the guidance of HopkinsÕ Director of Instrumental Music, Mr. Greg Conway, who enjoys his ninth year of teaching there, its Jazz Ensemble has accomplished a rarity Ð receiving Unanimous Superior ratings at CMEA Festivals in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, and now 2014.And, for 15 years since the school first participated in the Campana Jazz Festival, the HopkinsÕ Jazz Ensemble has never been placed higher than 6th Ð that is, until this year.

ÒOur group of wonderful musicians has every reason to be proud of its outstanding achievements,Ó said Mr. Conway, beaming with delight. ÒStudents have all put in a tremendous amount of effort every school day of the year, rain or shine.Ó

Jazz EnsembleÕs 22highly-disciplined students begin every school day with rehearsal at 7:15 a.m. This is enrichment to their band or orchestra classes that they take later in the day as an elective subject. Jazz Ensemble concentrates on many different styles, including Swing, Latin, Rock, Funk, and also some mainstream popular music. The emphasis is on learning how to play jazz styles, improvisation (solo), and improving general musicianship.

Besides the CMEA Jazz Festival, Jazz Ensemble also has other performance opportunities throughout the year, including HopkinsÕ winter and spring concerts, several local jazz festivals, and the annual Music in the Parks Festival in Anaheim, where the group has consistently received ratings of ÒSuperiorÓ (1st Place AA Middle School Jazz Band and 1st Place Overall Jazz Band) for a number of years.

Congratulations to Jazz Ensemble of Hopkins Junior High. It did shine amidst the rainÉ twice!

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