SHS Jazz Band takes second at State


Last updated 6/6/2023 at 2:14pm

Photo provided

Sisters High School's 15-member Jazz Band performed well in 3A state competition at Mt. Hood Community College.

Sisters musicians shone in the spotlight on a beautiful Friday at Mt. Hood Community College, where the OMEA (Oregon Music Education Association) held its annual State Jazz Championship.

More than two-dozen schools attended this event, 5A and 6A schools on Saturday and 3A and 4A on Friday. The Sisters High School Jazz Band qualified for the 3A event, which they attended with their group of 15 young musicians.

Under the direction of Kayla Golka, the band played "Moanin'," "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You," and "Children of Sanchez."

It was a versatile set that won them second place out of the four competing 3A bands.

What makes this feat especially impressive is that not all of these players were high schoolers. Slightly more than a quarter of the band members were seventh- and eighth-graders who auditioned earlier this year.

No matter their age, all of the players were eager to participate in the competition. For many, this was their first year, but a few of the older students were more experienced. The seniors in this band have gone to State as many as three times in their jazz band careers.

"I remember being a seventh-grader in jazz band and looking up to all these more advanced players, thinking I'd never get where they were. But now I realize that I've definitely made it to that point in my playing ability, and maybe even gone further. It feels like I've come full circle," said senior Dominic Martinez.

Martinez is one of the three graduating seniors leaving the jazz band, along with Norma Quero and Josie Patton. Losing these valuable participants is a hit to the band's already small numbers. However, several incoming eighth-graders are looking to audition for the jazz band, along with high schoolers.

This influx of participants is partly due to Sister High School Jazz Band's growing legacy. In the five years that the state competition has been in action, SHS qualified four times. This is an extraordinary achievement for any high school, and many of the musicians feel fulfilled that their hard work has been recognized.

"As a first-year teacher, I felt pressure because this school has attended so frequently, but it was a pressure I put on myself. By the end of it I felt secure, happy, and proud of what we accomplished," said Golka.

The rest of the band agrees with that statement, expressing how grateful they were for the opportunity. Ending this school year on a high note, the Sisters Jazz Band can look back on all the hard work they put in this year before moving toward the upcoming academic year.


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