Fremd Jazz Band welcomes spring with annual jazz festival

Dylan Bago, Staff Writer

Fremd Jazz Band performed at Jazz in the Meadows, a festival hosted by Rolling Meadows High School. This year marks the 36th annual Jazz in the Meadows Festival, which typically takes place on the fourth Saturday of February, signaling the beginning of spring. 

More than 50 high school jazz bands in the area competed at the event. The students competed and performed for a panel of judges, which consisted of former educators and current jazz musicians. 

Due to the competitive atmosphere, students performing receive helpful feedback in order to further improve their playing. Even if the students lose to other schools, the experience gleaned from the festivals serve only to benefit participants. 

Fremd band director and music department chair John Teichert speaks on how these jazz festivals can significantly impact students, regardless of rankings and awards.

“We enjoy our kids getting a chance to perform for other students. No matter how the kids are placed, we’re still very proud of them,” Teichert said. “I think it’s a good experience anytime you get out of the Fremd walls.”

Jazz in the Meadows provides an opportunity for Fremd jazz musicians to expand their horizons, and play outside of their comfort zone. While building up a suitable environment is beneficial for playing, adaptability is just as important – being a versatile musical skill useful for both casual and professional levels of playing. Furthermore, playing in front of audiences and judges can work wonders for confidence, training students to play loud and proud in front of strangers.

Jazz band member James Yu mentions his take on the festival.

“It really gave me a sense of unity, as it felt like we were really connected throughout the event,” Yu said. “I really liked the opportunity to come out and play at a festival, and I thought it was an enjoyable experience.”

Teichert reflects on what he thinks is the most important takeaway from the festival.

“The fact that they’re preparing music from professional level bands, music that I played when I was a working musician, shows the ability for the kids to put in a lot of time and effort in order to make great music,” Teichert said. “That’s probably the best part of the festival – a celebration of our work in rehearsals.”