Sparta High School’s award-winning music department hosted its fifth annual Jazz Festival on April 5, attracting a dozen of northern New Jersey’s top jazz bands to compete for group and individual rankings.
More than 300 people watched the performances in the school auditorium.
Sparta jazz bands Blues Sanction and Blues Inc hosted ensembles from various regional school districts. The bands performed in the middle school, competitive or highly competitive division.
The judges were renowned musicians, directors and teachers Jim Saltzman of the Manhattan School of Music’s College of Jazz Arts and Music History and Dave Martin, Todd Nichols and Anthony Branker of Rutgers University College of Music Education and Jazz Studies.
A variety of foods were sold by volunteers from a large food stall in the main lobby. The Sparta Jazz Fest sold clothing, and there were many other stations, such as the 360 Booth by Treble & Bass Production, sponsor Fusion Core and unique musical giveaways by Musically Inclined.
Fundraisers included a 50/50 raffle, candy grams and Best Directors jars.
In the middle school division, Sparta Middle School and Glen Meadow Middle School won silver and Jefferson Middle School took bronze.
In the competitive division, Newton High School’s Jazz Ensemble won gold. Silver went to Blues Sanction of Sparta High School, Vernon Jazz Express and The K-Train of Kittatinny Regional High School. Bronze awards were won by High Point Regional High School’s Jazz Ensemble, North Warren Regional High School’s Jazz Ensemble and Lenape Valley Regional High School’s Jazz Ensemble.
In the highly competitive division, the Big Band of Newark Academy and Mount Olive High School’s Jazz Ensemble both took gold.