South jazz band hosts their own 13 part radio show

Caroline Stevens, Staff Writer

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The jazz band program is one of the more prestigious music programs at South, with some of the most talented and dedicated musicians making up the group. This year, the jazz band will accomplish what many young musicians might never dream possible by broadcasting a radio program on the Twin Cities jazz radio station, KBEM, 88.5 FM.

KBEM asked South’s jazz band to host their own 13-part radio show. The hour long segments are released monthly and recorded in North High School’s recording studio. Not only will the five members of the jazz combo be hosting and performing in the show, they also create and edit all content that is broadcast.

“The goal of the station is to be dull, it’s an adult talking about jazz… our show’s supposed to be more interesting,” said Joe Suihkonen, trumpet player and band member.

Saxophone player Ella Masters said the goal of this project is to make jazz more accessible to students: “It’s a lot of older people playing older music; the point is to show that there are students playing jazz and students excited about jazz.”

Scott Carter, the music director at South and the producer of the show said, “the kids are interested in doing it because they’ve never done it before.” Carter is benefiting the production by helping with content and theme ideas, as well as offering overall creative help. According to Carter, “we’ll be able to mesh current, fresh arrangements of songs with things that have been recorded ten years ago.”

Content for the 13-part show will be recordings of both the full jazz band and the smaller combo, as well as a couple of songs and interviews with famous jazz musicians, such as jazz drummer Butch Miles and jazz trumpeter Irvin Mayfield. Suihkonen said talking to musicians such as Miles and Mayfield can be a learning experience. “Whenever we talk to them, it’s learning for us,” he said.

Emerson Hunter, drummer for the jazz combo, reported that each show will have a different theme, the first being about how the members of the combo group got into jazz. They also will mix it up by broadcasting Latin jazz and ballads, along with other sects of jazz. The show will also involve some numbers with the pop singers.

“It will bring a lot of attention to the South music program,” said Sam Wildenauer, bass player. Carter added, “I honestly hope that people check it out because it’s their classmates; I hope they will become more educated about music.”

Anders Nelson, guitar player of the combo, described his mood about the show as “cautiously optimistic.” With luck, the one-of-a-kind show will raise the concert attendance, inform and animate people about jazz, and expose the jazz program at South to community members and students alike.

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