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Hot Music, Cool Vibe

Local students performing in Chantilly Invitational Jazz Festival.

Performance Schedule

FRIDAY 3/16

4 p.m. - Workshop Jazz

4:20 p.m. - Eagle Ridge MS

4:40 p.m. - JL Simpson MS

5 p.m. - George Washington MS

5:20 p.m. - Stone MS

5:40 p.m. - Rachel Carson MS

6 p.m. - MS Awards/Dinner

6:25 p.m. - West Springfield Guitar 2

6:50 p.m. - Westfield HS Guitar

7:15 p.m. - Colonial Forge 2

7:40 p.m. - West Springfield Guitar 1

8:05 p.m. - George Mason HS

8:30 p.m. - Walter Johnson High School Combo

8:55 p.m. - Break

9:10 p.m. - West Springfield Gypsy Jazz

9:35 p.m. - Colonial Forge 1

10 p.m. - Albemarle HS

10:25 p.m. - Combo Awards

SATURDAY 3/17

8 a.m. - Robinson SS 2

8:25 a.m. - Fairfax HS

8:50 a.m. - Stonewall Jackson HS

9:15 a.m. - Sherando HS

9:40 a.m. - WT Woodson

10:05 a.m. - Prelude

11:05 a.m. - Robinson SS 1

11:30 a.m. - Manassas Park HS

11:55 a.m. - Oakton HS 2

12:20 p.m. - Flint Hill HS

12:45 p.m. - Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra

1:55 p.m. - Yorktown HS

2:20 p.m. - Westbrook HS

2:45 p.m. - Washington-Lee HS

3:10 p.m. - National Jazz Workshop Band

3:50 p.m. - Westfield HS

4:15 p.m. - South County

4:40 p.m. - Oakton HS 1

5:05 p.m. - McLean HS

5:30 p.m. - Walter Johnson High School

5:55 p.m. - Colonial Forge HS

6:20 p.m. - Lake Braddock HS

6:45 p.m. - Albemarle HS

7:10 p.m. - Chantilly Jazz

The sounds of smooth, cool jazz will fill the air during the 32nd annual Chantilly High Invitational Jazz Festival. It’s slated for Friday-Saturday, March 16-17, in the school auditorium, 4201 Stringfellow Road in Chantilly.

"Almost 40 bands are coming from Virginia and Maryland, and even one from Connecticut," said Chantilly’s Band Director, Drew Ross. "We’re fortunate to have a large number of fantastic jazz programs in our area, so we invite as many bands as we can."

The event is free to the public and runs March 16, from 4-10:30 p.m., and March 17, from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. So audience members may come and go as they please to listen to whichever bands they want to hear (see schedule).

"March is also ‘Music in Our Schools’ month, so it’s a great way for people to come here and see these groups," said Ross. "The audience will be blown away by group after group and seeing how talented these musicians are. It’s overwhelmingly exciting to watch."

Middle-school bands, as well as high-school jazz combos and big bands, will be performing. They include the Flint Hill School’s jazz band; two big bands from Robinson Secondary School; one from Lake Braddock Secondary School; big bands from Woodson, Fairfax and South County high schools; and two guitar combos and a Gypsy Jazz group from West Springfield High.

"Each combo and band has different styles, and sometimes they play pieces never heard before, on top of the standard repertoire," said Ross. "I’m as old as this jazz festival, so it’s a daunting task to run something that’s been around as long as I have."

He said the event provides an opportunity for middle- and high-school students to "share a stage and play music for an appreciative audience. They also play for three, professional adjudicators and six to eight clinicians who provide feedback on their performances."

In addition, each middle-school band and high-school band and combo will vie for first-, second- and third-place awards in their divisions. "The top three, high-school bands compete at the end of the day on Saturday in a battle of the bands to determine the jazz-festival champion," said Ross. "Each of the three bands gets a trophy."

Awards are also presented to outstanding soloists and rhythm-section players, and GMU gives scholarships to participate in its Summer Jazz Workshop. Chantilly High also awards three, $500 scholarships to outstanding senior musicians who plan on majoring in music in college.

Besides the school bands, three feature acts will also perform:

Prelude, led by Dave Detwiler, a former Army Blues trumpeter who teaches music and still plays professionally;

The Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra. Baylock is the arranger for the Air Force’s Airmen of Note and the artist in residence at Shenandoah University.

The National Jazz Workshop Invitational Big Band, directed by Matt Niess and including current, local high-school musicians.

All in all, Ross said, the jazz festival is "cool because it’s unique. There are very few jazz festivals in the United States that feature such a wide variety of musicians and music. Aside from the middle- and high-school bands, we showcase professional bands and local talent that the audience might not otherwise get to hear and see."