This school year brought the beginning of a new club on campus: the Choir Jazz Ensemble. According to senior Kailee Browning and junior Henry Mendoza, the club had been in the works for quite some time, so all eight members are rightfully extremely excited to have the opportunity to perform together this year. The club is led by choir teacher Colleen Chester, but as said by Browning, “the group members are responsible for learning the music on their own, which is always a party.” Expressions talked to Browning and Mendoza to learn more about the Jazz Ensemble.
Expressions: How did the club come to be?
Senior Kailee Browning: The jazz ensemble was organized at the beginning of this year by Ms. Chester, the choir teacher for both the high school and the middle school. Unsurprisingly, there is an ongoing interest in incorporating contemporary music into our repertoire, and eight singers from the chamber choir came together and agreed to make it happen.
Expressions: Who leads the club and how is tune selection gone about?
Junior Henry Mendoza: In the group, everyone has their own role, so it’s student led but overall seen over by Chester. Ms. Chester also finds us the tunes, because we know if she chooses them it’s definitely going to sound cool.
Expressions: What has the ensemble accomplished so far this year?
Browning: The songs we’ve learned so far have been super groovy — to name a few, Chile con Carne, Moon River, Santa Claus is Comin to Town, 12 Days of Christmas, I’ll be Home for Christmas, Bumblebee…the list goes on. We’ve already been able to perform at multiple venues across the community, which has been really rewarding. Most recently, we sang at the Cal Poly PAC in the combined choir / band concert and got a standing ovation!!
Expressions: Is there any criticism on your experience so far that you’d like to vocalize?
Mendoza: I wish we had more opportunities to perform in front of a crowd, whether it be school assemblies or more gig, I really think that the jazz group has some talent that should be shared more.
Expressions: Do you have anything to add about the future of the Jazz Ensemble?
Browning: The group will continue singing together through second and third trimester, and likely continue into the years to follow. Right now, we’re getting started on the Pentatonix version of Imagine, and who doesn’t love Pentatonix? Being in the group is certainly a considerable commitment, but I’m quite positive that everybody in the group is enjoying the experience to the fullest.
Be sure to check out the Jazz Ensemble at their forthcoming gigs.