Medical Lake students take in college jazz scene

The Medical Lake Middle School jazz band plays during the critique session with David Marriott, the director of Edmonds Community College’s jazz band.

Students of Medical Lake middle school and high school jazz bands saw a possible glimpse into their musical futures as they came to Eastern Washington University to display their skills as a part of EWU’s annual Jazz Dialogue Music Festival, Jan. 10-11.

The middle school band, consisting of sixth-seventh- and eighth-graders, came on the first morning of the event. For 13 of these students, who were clutching their polished instruments and worn music books as they made their way through the halls, this was their first time performing in a jazz festival.

After a 30-minute warm-up practice session, the band played a set of three tune in front of an audience consisting of two other schools.

Once they were finished with their performance, they went to a critique session with David Marriott, the director of Edmonds Community College’s jazz band.

During the session, Marriott gave several tips to help them with their sound. He also recommended that soloists spend time looking at their parts.

“The more time you spend with your parts, the more time you’ll save for your band director,” Marriott said.

Craig Johnson sixth-12th grade band director, said the students were relaxed while they were performing at the festival.

“I was worried because it was the first time for some, but they enjoyed it,” Johnson said.

The high school and Red Clay combo jazz bands came to EWU on the second day of the festival. Like their younger musical counterparts, the high school and combo bands played a 30-minute practice before going to perform at the recital hall. Johnson mentioned that both bands were relaxed when they came to the festival.

“The high schoolers came at 7 a.m., so I think they were too tired to be nervous,” Johnson said. “They had a great time.”

Some of the band members attended the evening concert that featured performances from EWU’s performing faculty and other guests, including guitarist Mike Stern and vocalist Greta Matassa.

All three jazz bands will be performing at the Java and Jazz fundraiser at MLMS, Feb. 21. The high school jazz band will also be performing at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, Feb. 22, in Idaho.

Al Stover can be reached at


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