Highlights for Highlighters
Temple jazz band wins national 'Perform with Mintzer' contest
Our Town Temple
Temple High School’s top jazz ensemble — The Highlighters — is adding another high-profile award to its list of achievements for the year. The group won the “Perform With Mintzer” contest over the weekend.
The Highlighters submitted a short essay and a performance video to enter the contest. Director Marcos Duran submitted the same recordings the band entered into the “Essentially Ellington” Festival earlier this year. A panel of judges reviewed the performance, and the Highlighters were chosen as the national winner.
By winning the contest, the Highlighters will have legendary jazz performer Bob Mintzer visit the school for a private clinic and on-stage performance with the group. The Highlighters will also receive the judge’s adjudication forms with notes and suggestions to help the already talented group continue to develop and improve.
“I’m not sure the kids understood what it meant at first because it was all so new to them,” Duran said. “Then, I started listing his credentials. I told them that he is a professor of jazz at USC, but his real job is international jazz superstar because that’s what he is. He is a 30-year member of the Yellowjackets, he has played on over a thousand recordings, has toured the world and played with almost everyone out there.”
“For me as a teacher, to have someone of Bob Mintzer’s caliber come in and work with our kids is a tremendous opportunity for our program,” Duran said.
“It is always very interesting to find out we’ve won something,” said Abby Hannon, a junior trumpet player. “It is going to be fun, and I am looking forward to the chance to work with someone who does this professionally. He might say something that really sparks something for me as I continue with my pursuit of music.”
Mintzer is a saxophonist, arranger and educator who holds the Barbara and Buzz McCoy endowed chair at the University of Southern California’s (USC) Thornton School of Music. He has written over 500 big-band arrangements, several jazz study books, orchestral and chamber works, and has received over 15 Grammy nominations for his solo projects and work with the Yellowjackets.
Members of Highlighters are enjoying the recognition and celebrating their accomplishment but are also looking forward to the chance to clinic with and perform with Mintzer.
“It means a lot to me because it is that much more experience,” said Bryshaun Dickson, sophomore drummer. “It is something else that can really help me improve and make me feel good because this is something I want to pursue as a career. I am very appreciative because I just love this program”
“I just know that I enjoy the music he has composed and that he is a phenomenal musician,” said Luke Hermann, sophomore baritone saxophonist. “I am really looking forward to the opportunity to learn from him and I just really want to be present in that moment and enjoy making music with him.”
The date for the clinic and performance with Mintzer is still to be determined since he is currently on tour in Europe.
The Highlighters were selected to perform in the prestigious Charles Mingus Virtual Festival in February, and the group was recognized as a National Winner in the Mark of Excellence/National Jazz Honors Project at the beginning of the school year. The latter honor recognized performances by the 2020-2021 edition of the Highlighters.
MONDAY | APRIL 25, 2022