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Chantilly's 20th Annual Jazz & Pizzazz!

Show choir, jazz band, strut their stuff.

Featuring the Jazz Band and Touch of Class Show Choir, Chantilly High's Jazz & Pizzazz! is always a spectacular event. But this year's show promises to be even more special since it's the 20th annual.

"We're trying to find a song from as many of the past 19 years as possible to give the audience a taste of them all," said Choral Director Glenn Cockrell. "This show has stood the test of time in the community, and that's what makes the 20th annual so exciting."

The performances run for four nights, Wednesday-Saturday, May 24-27, at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium. Tickets, $10, are on sale in the cafeteria from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Or call Joyce Resua at 703-478-6382. This popular show usually sells out, so people are advised to buy tickets in advance.

"AND ALUMNI may want to come early, because we're hoping to post old pictures, programs, props and costumes," said Cockrell. "They'll be able to take a walk down memory lane and see things reminding them of past shows."

Some 31 students in Touch of Class and 20 students in the Jazz Band will be performing, including Cockrell's son Joshua, a drummer. And both Cockrell and Band Director Keith Taylor are looking forward to the show as eagerly as the community is.

"It's a collaborative effort by the band and chorus, and the show has a lot of energy," said Taylor. "The diversity of the music also makes it special. We have everything from traditional jazz to the most current pop and everything in between — Broadway, country, rock."

He said Jazz & Pizzazz! connects with people on many levels: "Parents love watching their children showcased, and kids picture themselves performing up there someday."

Cockrell said many students get aspirations to sing or play an instrument because of this show. "The quality of the performance is so high," said Taylor. "And teachers and principals alike enjoy seeing their students in a new light."

He said many alumni also return each year to see how well the torch has been passed from group to group. And, said Taylor, "The seniors leave a legacy to those who follow them. For many students, it's the culmination of four years."

Typically, said Cockrell, seniors in the show are recognized during the Saturday-night performance. "We stop the show and give a rose to every senior," he said. "And the past few years, we've also recognized their parents."

ALUMNI ARE usually acknowledged during the Friday-night show. And, said Cockrell, "We've been making an extra effort to contact them this year, since it's the 20th annual show."

He noted, as well, that many former Jazz & Pizzazz! performers have gone on to professional careers in entertainment. For example, he said, Sarah Pramstaller was in the touring company of "Tommy" and played Rizzo in "Grease" on Broadway.

And this year, said Taylor, the Jazz & Pizzazz! audience will also be treated to an original composition. "Chantilly Jazz had a scholarship from the Wolf Trap Foundation to commission a composition, and it'll be performed as part of this show," he said. "It's called 'Green-Eyed Groove,' and the composer wrote it specifically for this jazz group. When it gets published, it'll have 'commissioned by the Chantilly Jazz Band 2006' on it."

Taylor said the upcoming Jazz & Pizzazz! features a real "smorgasbord" of songs. "The kids are so talented, and they're having a good time [with the material]," he said. Cockrell said his choral students are working equally hard and will present a terrific show. And what they do is far different from traditional, school show choirs.

"It's a huge volume of material, and a two-hour production is a huge undertaking," he explained. "For the Show Choir, Jazz & Pizzazz! is kind of like doing musical theater every day, all day, all year. They're not just learning the music, it also involves singing, costumes, dancing and production elements. These kids come in two days a week after school, all year, just to do choreography."

Rather than reveal the names of specific songs to be performed, Cockrell said he'd prefer to keep them a surprise and see if the audience recognizes them. And he noted that VTS Video Productions will do a special, multi-camera taping of this year's show and will also take the first-generation copies of all 19 previous shows and convert them to DVDs. They'll then be made available to anyone wanting them and may be ordered at the show.

Senior Matt Gillen, 18, has played trumpet for seven years and has played in the Jazz Band for three years. His favorite part of the show is the audience-participation number in which audience members get to go up on stage and dance with the performers.

As for this year's show, he said, "The music selection is pretty awesome. Everybody is up there because they enjoy Jazz & Pizzazz! also and they have a lot of fun doing it."

David Cardwell, 18, also a senior, plays trombone. He chose that instrument because "it's got a cool tone and it's fun to play 'cause you get to move your arm, not just press valves. And you can do lots of styles of music."

HIS FAVORITE type of music is funk — "edgy brass like Earth, Wind & Fire and even Chicago." He, too, has been in Jazz Band three years and is excited about the upcoming show. "It's really neat because it's something you'll remember your whole life," he said. "It's fun to be in a big production, and there's fire in the audience because either their kids or friends are in it. And it's a legacy that's cool to say you were a part of."

Seniors Jordan Waddell and Joe Misiewicz, both 18, and juniors Stephanie Crutchfield and Kimberly Resua, both 17, are third-year members of Touch of Class and are performing in their third Jazz & Pizzazz!

Waddell, a tenor, said the choir practices some seven hours a week and he feels honored to be in this show. He especially likes the song, "Africa," because "it's not usually in our repertoire, it's a capella and I've got a solo in it."

Alto Crutchfield likes "Big City Beat" best because "it's really energetic and it's a song you can put a lot of expression into. I love being on stage and I think the show will have something for everyone. And we'll be part of history because we're in the 20th annual show."

Misiewicz, a bass, likes both dancing and singing. "When you're up there with all eyes on you, you get to shine and show your stuff," he said. "I like to entertain people and keep them happy. And the audience will recognize songs from past years and be nostalgic."

Resua, an alto, likes "Hit Me With a Hot Note" because "it's really Broadway and we had a guest choreographer for it. I love performing; it's adrenaline-rushing and fun to experience different genres of music and incorporate it with singing and dancing. And it's exciting to show the alumni what we can do with everything they've done."