The 31st of September saw five aspiring Jazz Musicians from ZIS travel to Brunssum, a small Dutch city south of Amsterdam to participate in an annual AMIS (Association for Music in International Schools) Jazz Festival. Students from many other corners of the world embarked on a similar journey, all sharing three primary goals of: making new friends, learning more about Jazz and uniting to perform music at the highest level.
The five students that represented Zurich International School were: Benjamin Sexton(’18), Martin Kessler(’17), Cornelius Carlsson(’17), Joseph Forsyth(’18) and Abheek Das(’17). However, not all were in the same ensemble, or group. Benjamin Sexton was a pianist for the Big Band, Martin Kessler a part of the Jazz Ensemble whilst Cornelius Carlsson, Joseph Forsyth and Abheek Das were all participating in the Jazz Skills Workshop.
For all, a regular day consisted of 6-7 hours of music. They began to play at 9 and finishing at 16:30. Mr. Jim Yarnell, the leader of the workshop, exposed all members to: different styles of Jazz music, the different modes and scales of the genre along with many other things. Furthermore, the Jazz workshop participants received a ton of tips regarding soloing and phrasing of notes.
On the 2nd of October, all students participating in the Festival took part in an excursion to Maastricht, one of the biggest cities in Holland. There, students had a chance to experience the vibrant European culture (for those who were not from Europe), and purchase souvenirs along with other items. As a closure to the visit, the students had the opportunity to eat lunch together whereby they strengthened their newly formed friendships.
After the grueling, fatiguing yet exuberant four days, all participants had a chance to show what they had been working on. Proceedings kicked off in the afternoon with a display from the Jazz workshop. The repertoire consisted of four pieces in which each member of the band took a solo, further emphasizing a critical aspect of Jazz music. To some, soloing in front of an audience was extremely foreign but to others, it was ordinary.
In the evening, unlike the Jazz workshop performance, many guests from the Host school (AF North International School) were invited to watch the show. The Big Band played five pieces, which included Jazz standards from Count Basie and Glen Miller. The Vocal Jazz Ensemble sang a variety of songs alone, and together with the Big Band, too. A renowned artist named Darmon Meader conducted both these Ensembles. These two shows were truly spectacular, displaying immense talent and impressive professionalism from all of the participants.
This experience was enlightening and enriching in every aspect. All members expanded their knowledge on Jazz music, made long lasting memories and true friendships that will stand the test of time. The coolest thing, though, was that close friends were made solely through our common interest in jazz!
Abheek Das ’17