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The student news site of Amador Valley High School


The student news site of Amador Valley High School


The student news site of Amador Valley High School


Everything to know about Amador Valley’s Jazz Bands

Amador Valley’s Jazz A poses after a successful performance at the Campana Jazz Festival.

Amador Valley’s vibrant jazz music program offers students an opportunity to immerse themselves in the diverse world of jazz.

With the guidance of teachers like Matthew Fell, the Jazz Band teacher, and the enthusiastic participation of students, the jazz program at Amador Valley creates a community that resonates beyond the school’s walls.

 “It’s just a kind of group of people who are super talented at their instrument and also really passionate about the music. It’s kind of a whole different vibe,” said Jazz A saxophonist Brayden Ye (’24).

What sets Amador Valley’s Jazz Band apart is its focus on improvisation. Unlike other ensembles, students aren’t just reading sheet music; they’re creating melodies and solos on the spot, developing valuable skills in communication and quick thinking.

“Jazz band is special because it gives a chance for the students to be creative while performing in a group  that may be a little different than the others. It’s also a smaller group than most, so it’s kind of a cool community,” said Fell.

For aspiring jazz musicians, Jazz A percussionist James Borris (’24) encourages them to “do a lot of practice and get involved in Jazz B or C if you don’t make it in A.” He emphasizes the importance of dedication and continuous learning in this challenging but rewarding art form.

“Jazz bands are free… You can be a super competitive band, or you can just hang out with your buddies,” said Borris

Amador’s jazz band offers many different types of instruments, from woodwinds, to brass, to percussion. Musicians learn to play in a swing format, and gain freedom of styling and phrasing their music in imaginative ways.

“Jazz primarily has a saxophone section, trombone section, trumpet section and rhythm section which includes piano, drumset, bass guitar and sometimes vibraphone,” said Ye.

The jazz bands don’t just perform inside the school walls. They participate in various events including competitions, festivals, and community performances. Their upcoming trip to Santa Cruz in March, and their performances at lunch and during special school events are just a few of their performances.

“We perform at our winter conference that we perform in the theater. We also have a spring concert every year with rest of the band program and then our band also attends Jazz festivals. In the fall we go to Sac State for the Sac State Jazz festival. Just a few weeks ago we went to Folsom for the Jazz festival at Folsom High school,” said Ye.

If you’re a student looking for a creative outlet, the Amador Valley High School Jazz Band program offers something unique. With its emphasis on improvisation, creativity, and collaboration, it’s a vibrant community where musical passion takes center stage.

“The jazz bands at Amador Valley are not just a class; it’s a community where creativity thrives, challenges are overcome, and the magic of jazz unfolds,” concludes Fell

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