CSU Jazz Ensembles Kick it with Fort Collins High School

By Brandon Adams

It is always special when the community becomes involved in a CSU performance. On Feb. 22, the CSU Jazz Ensembles will be in full swing in a collaborative performance with the Fort Collins High School Jazz Ensemble. Under the direction of David Miles, the high school ensemble will perform a variety of tunes, including Count Basie’s Flight of the Food Bird, Miles Davis’ Milestones, and Steve Spiegl’s Penna Tiranna.

Seeing how David Miles is both a Fort Collins High School and a CSU music alum, I reached out to him to ask about what this partnership meant to him and the FCHS Jazz Program.

Brandon: What are you looking forward to the most about having your students perform with the CSU Jazz Ensembles?

David: I’m looking forward to my students getting the opportunity to perform in a quality venue and for a great audience. Of course they’ll also get to listen to two of CSU’s fantastic jazz bands playing some challenging literature. One of the things I preach to my students is that whether or they major in music, they need to keep playing and keep music in their lives. I’m hoping they get to see a number of non-music majors performing in this concert.

Brandon: How did you choose the music that the FCHS Jazz Ensemble will play?

David: Some of our students have played in middle school jazz bands and some just learned to swing. I try to expose them to a blend of classic jazz charts and quality new music that fits both their skill set and our limited rehearsal time. For this concert, I inadvertently stumbled into a theme and have jokingly called it “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, but Nothing Blues.”

04.08.15_Jazz Combos_web

12.07.15_Jazz-CombosBrandon: What do you hope for your students to gain from this unique experience?

David: A greater appreciation for the variety of challenging jazz music that is available to them beyond high school. Many of my students are first or second-year “jazzers,” and so their exposure to some jazz forms is somewhat limited. I’m hoping that some eyes will be opened and that they go home searching for more recordings that they can listen to.

Brandon: What is something the Fort Collins community might not know about this year’s FCHS Jazz Ensemble?

David: First, that one of the members who helped make our band the first semester could not join us for this concert because her family moved overseas in early Jan. I know that she was really looking forward to the music and playing with us. Second, that the music department at Fort Collins High School is a very strong and collaborative place. Many of our jazz band students are involved in orchestra, choir, and take numerous Advanced Placement courses in addition to their band classes. We also have a number of students who participate in athletics and in theater. We’re very proud of our music department and our wonderful students.

Brandon: What does the relationship between CSU and FCHS mean to you and your students?

David: I think it’s a nice partnership that is going to allow my students to see some fabulous musicians, some who are not too much older than themselves, performing and having fun in a fantastic college environment. This opportunity will hopefully pique the interest of some of my students, and they may someday join their own college jazz band. I am both an FCHS and CSU graduate, so this relationship is quite important to me. Half of my musical life has been spent in these two facilities. It is a pleasure and a privilege to share the stage with the CSU Jazz Ensembles. My thanks to Peter Sommer for the opportunity!

Ticket Information
Tickets for the performance are no charge for Full-fee paying CSU students, $1 for youth (under 18), and $12 for the public. Tickets are available at the University Center for the Arts (UCA) ticket office in the UCA lobby Monday through Friday, 3:30-5:30 p.m. and 60 minutes prior to performances, by phone at (970) 491-ARTS (2787), or online at www.CSUArtsTickets.com.