Jazz band is ‘superior’ in competition

Receiving nearly top marks at competitions, the jazz bands’ experiences have boosted player morale as they continue to compete this jazz band competition season.


Arrowhead photo by Zoe Bass

A proud moment…Congratulating him on his solo award, band director Adam Tucker (left) shakes senior Nick Mancini’s hand. The jazz competition was held on February 25 at Central Bucks West High School.

Representing the high school, both the jazz band and the lab jazz band have begun traveling to other schools in the area to compete over the last month.
Since late February, both jazz bands have taken part in weekly competitions to show off their talents.
During these shows, each band performs three pieces of music in front of live judges to receive a rating; each and every band that presents receives a rating for their performances, with the home ensemble being the only exception.
Jazz band director Adam Tucker describes the rating system as being similar to golf, with the lower scores being better than the higher ones.
“There are three judges and they all score us individually and then our end rating is based on the average score,” Tucker said.
The ratings, in order from best to worst, are “superior,” “outstanding,” “excellent” and “very good,” which according to Tucker means “Thanks for coming.”
In terms of scores, the jazz band has been receiving high remarks from the judges, being rated “superior” at their first show in Phoenixville and their third show at Pennridge.
Their second show, however, was the stand-out among the bunch.
Not only did they receive an “outstanding” overall, but they were awarded “best trombone section” in addition to senior Nick Mancini receiving a solo award.
Tucker, on the other hand, believes the stand-out moment to be the lab jazz band’s first performance.
“I’m hoping that the lab band can stay at that ‘outstanding.’ That was a really great accomplishment for them,” Tucker said.
This is the case because this was the first performance made by the jazz and lab band in two years as the pandemic hit its prime.
Tucker isn’t the only one relishing in the competitions, with many musicians in jazz band seeing them as an opportunity to showcase their talent.
“A competition feels like a place to show how good you are and impress the crowd,” trumpet player Deklan Linthicum said.
Linthicum also felt very strongly about the lab jazz band’s ratings, saying that achieving an “outstanding” felt good but was also a little lackluster, as it wasn’t a “superior.”
While the competitions usually take place without a hitch, the same cannot be said for the setting-up period.
Each band is required to bring their own drumset and guitar amplifiers, as well as individual instruments, meaning they have to unload the bus as soon as they get to the school.
Soon after, every student is taken to a warm-up room where they are only given close to half an hour to practice their pieces before they perform.
This process is something Tucker described as “chaotic.”
Jazz band has received two superior awards, one outstanding award, best trumbone section twice, and senior Nick Mancini and senior Andrew Febus have received solo awards.
Jazz band hosted their home show March 25 and competes in their last competition at Bensalem High School on April 1.