Corvallis senior and tenor saxophone player River Gladwin has been selected to the 2020 Montana All-State Jazz Band that will meet for rehearsal, training and performance Jan. 16–18 in Billings.
Students from high schools across Montana auditioned by playing song excerpts and an improvised solo. The selection committee chose five saxophones, four trombones, four trumpets and one of each of piano, guitar, bass and drum set.
Corvallis High School Music Educator Willi Prince said the students will get to work with some amazing jazz teachers and hear professional jazz musicians.
“It is a pretty big honor because they only accepted 17 people into each jazz band and there are two jazz bands. River made it into the top jazz band as one of only two tenor saxophones accepted,” Prince said. “It is a pretty prestigious opportunity, because each instrument plays a different part, so every student has to be extremely well versed on their instrument.”
Prince called Gladwin a “once in a lifetime student.”
“I have not met many students who have the passion and perseverance that River exudes,” she said. “He goes above and beyond, pushing himself to learn new musical skills, language and become a more well-rounded musician.”
She said Gladwin has been instrumental in the CHS band program since he moved to Corvallis in sixth grade.
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“I am so excited to see where he goes in his musical endeavors, and am proud to have been in his life,” Prince said. “He is a very kind and intelligent person, who I know will be successful in whatever path he takes.”
At the 2020 Montana All-State Jazz Band weekend, Gladwin will sit under Jazz Band A guest conductor Steve Owen, director of Jazz Studies University of Oregon, will learn in Owen’s Jazz Master Class and attend a Rocky Mountain Jazz Collective performance.
This is the second year for the Montana All-State Jazz Band after a break since 2005. In 2018 AA band directors talked about bringing it back and were able to get audition materials out and run it last year for the first time.
Rob Tapper, the University of Montana jazz band director has really spearheaded it along with the three Missoula high school band directors, Lewis Nelson (Sentinel High School), Leon Slatter (Hellgate High School) and Jesse Dochnahl (Big Sky High School), who organized the venue and all of the other logistics last year. This year the event is organized by Billings band directors Jeff Long and Roy Mckenney and Montana State University Billings professors.
The final concert of the 2020 Montana All-State Jazz Band will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18, in Billings.
Gladwin said music has always been a part of his life.
"But jazz is a way I can express myself without any limitations," he said. "I am so thankful to have the opportunity to play in the All State jazz band. Music is life, that’s why our hearts have beats."