It's JAZZ Season

Harlan Jazz Experience, Jazz Ensemble and Middle School Jazz gear up for contests

    HARLAN – Harlan Community’s tradition-rich jazz program is gearing up for an exciting contest season that kicks off this week with a first trip ever to the Triton Jazz Festival at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge on Friday, Jan. 14.
    First-year Jazz Experience Director Bill Kearney said the groups are young this year with few students having much experience being in a jazz band, but he’s every excited for the musicians to learn and grow and be part of the jazz tradition.
    “I am extremely excited about taking the reins in my first season as a jazz educator in the Harlan Community School District,” Kearney said.  “I am also anxious to get the season started.
    “I have been a part of jazz excellence here at Harlan Community for 10 years.  I have embraced the tradition of Harlan Jazz and I plan to do everything in my power to keep this great tradition going strong.”
    Kearney first volunteered as a coach/director before being hired as the high school band director.  He has assisted past directors as an adjunct teacher, bus driver and instructional coach in previous years.
    “I have taught band to many of the outstanding jazz musicians who have been in the jazz and band programs and part of the state championship years,” he said.
    He takes over for a program that has won nine state titles and 13 runners-up dating back decades, and with current students itching to get back to in-person contests following two years of COVID-19 shutdowns.
    “As far as I can tell, it is full steam ahead on contests for the winter and early spring,” Kearney said.  Masking and social distancing requirements may apply, except when on stage performing.
    “We are ready to plan accordingly to the ever-changing and updated protocols and mandates that may happen with these upcoming contests, but we are in agreement that we will attend and compete in every contest that we have registered for,” he said.

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