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Following the Music South

High school jazzers from Byron Center and Northview are heading to swing central. The Byron Center High School Jazz Orchestra and the Northview High School Jazz Band are two of 12 bands nationwide who will blow their horns March 30-April 1 at Swing Central Jazz, a workshop and competition held annually at the Savannah Music Festival in Georgia.

The three-day event immerses student musicians in jazz, swing and big band music. They will attend Music Festival concerts and participate in clinics with jazz pros including pianist Marcus Roberts, trumpeter Jim Ketch, drummer Jason Marsalis, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, trombonist Ron Westray and bassist Rodney Whitaker.

The bands will perform an outdoor concert and take part in a final competition concert at Lucas Theatre for the Arts.

It is the third year in a row that the Byron Center ensemble, directed by Marc Townley, has been chosen for the festival. The Northview band, directed by Greg Wells, this year became just the second Michigan band to be selected. Bands submit recordings that are reviewed by an independent panel of professionals.

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Bands competing in 2016 Swing Central Jazz

Byron Center Jazz Orchestra’s selection in 2015

Northview High School Jazz Band
Northview High School Jazz Band

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Charles Honey
Charles Honey is editor-in-chief of SNN, and covers series and issues stories for all districts. As a reporter for The Grand Rapids Press/mLive from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years and its columnist for 20. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today, Religion News Service and Faith & Leadership magazine. Read Charles' full bio

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