SLHS Band Participates in 49th Annual CMU Jazz Fest


Courtesy Photo

The band prepares to play at Central Michigan University

Korah Honig, Staff Writer

The Highschool jazz band was able to participate in Central Michigan University’s 49th annual Jazz festival for the first time in years Thursday, Feb. 11.

Due to covid, weather, and previous lack of a jazz band, St. Louis hasn’t had an appearance at this festival for several years. Yet, they came back with a bang. The band won three awards for class C including: Best soloist, 2nd best band, and 2nd best rhythm section. 

Best soloist award recipient, Demetrious Alspaugh, commented, “I was really surprised. I had no idea I was getting a trophy for it. I blew it off at first because we believed it was for ‘best baritone solo’ but then found out it was for soloing in general. The day was awesome.”

Derek Jewell, St. Louis Highschool substitute teacher, drumline instructor, and father of Rachel Jewell, came to watch the band. He can’t wait for the next performance. He said, “After two years without performance opportunities it was pretty awesome to see our shark’s jazz band participate in the CMU jazz festival. The jazz band sounded great and had an award winning performance. They represented SLHS with style and professionalism. Shark pride at its best. These students work so hard and put in the extra effort to play in the jazz band and it was awesome to see those efforts be rewarded.”

The band was lucky to have the high school staff and administration behind them, as there were some setbacks to the day. At first, there was a delay of school and then a cancellation. Nevertheless, the band was able to switch its performance time and still could secure a bus and classroom time to rehearse that morning. Also, the students appreciated that Principle Brock came to watch.

Mr. Lawhorne, the band director, stated, “The day began very stressful with the delay and cancellation, but ultimately ended up with a better performance venue and schedule for the band. I am incredibly proud of the band’s performance and also their flexibility to be able to perform under difficult circumstances. That performance was the perfect way to start a busy spring for all of the St. Louis bands.”

There are many upcoming performances for the bands, one being the Hastings Jazz festival this spring where the jazz and steel bands will perform.