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The Evanston Township High School Jazz Ensemble performed before an enthusiastic and appreciative crowd at the Chicago Jazz Festival in Chicago‘s Grant Park on Aug. 30. The Ensemble, led by ETHS director of bands David Fodor, was joined by special guests including jazz great and ETHS alumnus Junior Mance (Class of 1945), Chicago jazz mainstay Eric Schneider along with alums David Young (Class of ’97) and Matt Rubin (Class of ’02).
Junior Mance, a pianist, composer, author and recording artist, closed out the one-hour performance with a performance of his piece “Jubilation” as arranged by former ETHS teacher and current Northwestern professor Don Owens. Mr. Mance, who has performed with jazz legends Charlie Parker and Coleman Hawkins, brought the crowd to its feet with his subtle, expressive performance. He was ably backed by the ETHS Ensemble. After the performance, Mr. Mance had particular praise for the rhythm section, including John Miller on bass and Nate Woodring on drums.
The performance, and rehearsal in Evanston on Saturday prior to the performance, represented a homecoming for Mr. Mance. Former Mayor Lorraine Morton attended the rehearsal, giving the two friends a chance to catch up. “It was great to see Lorraine,” said Mr. Mance.
The performance opened with just the 20-piece ensemble on stage. They were joined by Mr. Young on trumpet for the second piece (Chris Berg’s “Gates of Tashbann”), followed by Mr. Schneider on clarinet for the third (Henderson’s arrangement of the Jelly Roll Morton classic “King Porter Stomp”) and fourth (Tommy Newsom’s “The Way I Feel About You”).
Mr. Schneider, Mr. Young and Mr. Rubin (on trumpet) then joined the
Ensemble for an arrangement by Mr. Rubin of Harold Arlen’s “I’ve Got a Right to Sing the Blues.” Mr. Mance followed, bringing the crowd to its feet with the Ensemble’s concluding piece.