Today is “Medfield High School Jazz Band Day" in the town of Medfield.
Earlier this month, the Board of Selectmen declared that Monday, April 25, 2011 would be set aside to honor the band that won first place in the 2011 Charles Mingus High School Competition and Festival held in New York City in February.
The ensemble will play Monday night at the beginning of Town Meeting.
“It’s a testament to the students, parents, music teaching staff, and administration that we won the National Charles Mingus Jazz Festival and that we get this great honor as well,” said Band Director Doug Olsen, adding that the recognition also honors the band's talented alumni who helped build the music program to what it is today.
“The students are excited about the honor,” said Olsen. “It is something they will be able to look back on with pride and will also serve to inspire up and coming Medfield musicians.”
Regarding the win of the Charles Mingus competition, Olsen said that just being chosen as one of three bands from a national pool of talented entries is a great achievement.
“Our students performed on this national stage with poise, professionalism, and a deep emotional commitment to Mingus music," Olsen said. "It was a truly inspired performance by our musicians. The students were overjoyed when we were announced as winners.”
According to the Charles Mingus website, Mingus (1922-1979) was one of the most important figures in 20th century American music and was a virtuoso bass player, accomplished pianist, bandleader and composer. He played and recorded with the leading musicians of the 1950's-- Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Art Tatum and Duke Ellington.
The MHS Jazz Band has been busy at performances at community events since winning the competition, including the recent dedication of the high school auditorium to Lowell Mason, the founder of music education in the public school system.
“I heard them play at the Lowell Mason dedication,” said Osler Peterson, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, which unanimously named Monday “Medfield High School Jazz Band Day."
“They certainly had my foot tapping; I really enjoyed it,” Peterson said.