Students ‘swing’ to the music of the Big Band EraApr 29, 2021 12:49PM ● By Becky Ginos
BOUNTIFUL—Music filled the air and couples took to the dance floor last Friday night to enjoy sounds from the Big Band Era at the 16th Annual Fools For Jazz event at Bountiful High.
Bountiful High Jazz Band members, complete with sunglasses and Zoot Suits, played throughout the night along with jazz bands from Millcreek and Mueller Park junior highs.
“We played the traditional jazz music like you would hear at a club and Big Band dance music,” said Millcreek Junior High Band Director Chad King. “The school was decorated like a dance hall and people were swing dancing and having a good time. It’s really a good event.”
King has been at Millcreek for 29 years. “We’ve been involved in this for a long time,” he said. “I get a lot of students who have older siblings in the high school band and they look at them and want to participate.”
Bountiful High Band Director Danny Turnblom leads the event every year. “Several families and parents have helped him for years,” said King. “A community event like that takes a lot of people to put it on. Mr.Turnblom does a good job to create something every year that people look forward to.”
People get to dance to live music and pay a few dollars that goes to the band, he said. “I think it’s great. The kids had a blast. A lot of them stayed longer to listen to their friends.”
King’s jazz band is made up of 37 students that meet at 7:15 a.m. before school. “It’s a zero period so it gives them more time in their schedule,” he said. “Bountiful High meets at 6:15 a.m. These are dedicated kids.”
First term was a challenge with the hybrid schedule, he said. “Only half the kids could come every other day. But the (jazz band) kids could meet because it was an extracurricular activity. They even voted to stay extra on Fridays.”
Students have to try out for the ninth-grade jazz band, said King. “This year we doubled the parts because our school splits between Woods Cross and Bountiful High. I want to let as many kids get experience as possible so they have better odds of making those high school groups.”
They’ve worked hard and accomplished a great deal this year, he said. “They got a superior and superior plus at the State Junior High Band Festival. We send in a CD with the band playing and then the judges listen to all of them and the top 15 are selected.”
King has stayed at Millcreek for 29 years because he loves working with the kids. “I love the school, I love the community and I love teaching junior high,” he said. “It’s a blast helping them along their musical journey. Many of my students have gone on to play in high school and gotten scholarships to college. Some of them are teaching themselves.”
These are motivated kids, said King. “When you get students like that how can you not like it? I couldn’t be happier. It’s been an amazing adventure.”