Some 200 student musicians are expected to participate in the annual John Rhodes Jazz Symposium Friday, Feb. 22 at Wilton High School in the Little Theater.
This event, an assembly of high school jazz bands from across Fairfield County, is known for its display of musical talent and crowd-pleasing performances. The symposium is free and open to the public.
There will be two sessions: 3:30 to 6 p.m. and 6:30 to 9 p.m. Following the student performances, Fairfield County’s own Berkshire Jazz Orchestra will take the stage for a special guest performance that will include several Stan Kenton numbers.
Wilton High School Band Director Nick Loafman said he is looking forward to another year of inspiring jazz performances.
“There is always so much talent on display at our annual jazz symposium. It is so fun and rewarding to hear so many students from different schools playing this great music,” he said.
Participating in the symposium this year will be 10 bands from several Fairfield County high schools, including Westhill, King School, Bethel, Norwalk, McMahon, Newtown, and Weston. Wilton High School will feature two of its jazz bands — Jazz I and Jazz II.
The annual symposium offers students the opportunity to perform on stage as well as to receive critical feedback from an academic panel. Musical selections will range from traditional big band swing to Latin to ballads to contemporary jazz.
“It is always excellent to have student musicians perform for each other in an educationally focused, non-competitive setting,” Loafman said. “The students always learn a great deal by performing and listening to each other.”
Also looking forward to this event is Troy Williams, Wilton High School’s newest band director. This will be his first year at the symposium.
“I’ve heard nothing but great things about this event,” he said. “I’m excited to hear the other jazz bands coming from near and far.”
Loafman and Williams are especially pleased to welcome back to Wilton the Berkshire Jazz Orchestra. This regional jazz group, organized in 1987, comprises active performers and educators from all over Fairfield County."
“We feel so honored to have these great musicians perform here in Wilton for the students and the community,” Loafman said. “If you love jazz, then this will be a real treat.”