DOWNEY – Both Downey and Warren High Schools’ jazz students competed in Fullerton over the weekend at the annual Fullerton College Jazz Festival.
The Fullerton Jazz Festival is held every year, and is a chance for multiple high school and middle school bands to come together to interact, compete, and attend clinics to improve their craft.
Both Downey and Warren have been a reoccurring presence at the festival for several years.
This year, students represented their schools and their city across several of the festival’s categories, scoring and placing relatively well.
“We had a great weekend,” said Downey band director Corneliu Olariu in an email sent to a Downey Patriot reporter. “Our top group – the Jazz Ensemble got 2nd place in the top division – Advanced B. That is the highest we ever got at this festival (out of 9 groups – or out of 14 groups if you look at the scores combining both advanced divisions).”
Along with Downey’s top ensemble, the Viking’s second jazz band, two combos, and jazz choir also competed, placing 3rd in novice band, 3rd in advanced and intermediate combo, and 4th in vocal advanced respectively.
Three of Downey’s vocal jazz soloists, Frida Munoz, Mari Navarro, and Denisse Alvarado, also swept the soloist awards with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places respectively.
Warren competed with both their Jazz 1 and Jazz 2 bands in Intermediate B and Novice C divisions, both taking 3rd place.
Warren Band Director David Niemeyer said that Warren’s weekend was pretty solid, however he believes both bands could have performed a bit better.
“Sometimes it’s either a focus issue or they get on stage and they get a little scared issue – nervousness kind of thing,” said Niemeyer. “I don’t think anything was like so out of character, just I felt like ‘aww we could of done a bit better than that.’”
Despite any post-performance frustrations, Niemeyer said that he felt that his students were satisfied with their final result.
“At Fullerton Jazz Festival, only the top three bands get trophies or their names even called, you know,” said Niemeyer, “So if you take all the divisions and all the schools – to hear your name called and to have your school place both times – I think is pretty special.”