From the Cedar Rapids school district:
Washington High School’s “A Slice of Jazz” was the only Iowa high school music ensemble chosen to perform at the 2011 American Choral Directors Association National Convention in Chicago. The select choir will perform March 11 as part of “Jazz Night” events also featuring five other select ensembles, chosen from schools across the country.
The ACDA conference regularly features concert performances by auditioned and invited choirs; honor choir rehearsals and performances; interest sessions presented by noted choral leaders; choral music reading sessions; roundtable discussions; exhibits; and networking. This year, 38 choirs from 20 different states were selected by audition recordings to perform at the four-day convention. In addition to ‘Slice of Jazz,’ the only other Iowa choir selected for the convention was The Norsemen men’s choir from Luther College.
Directed by Matthew and Shelly Armstrong, “A Slice of Jazz” has been named the state champion jazz choir in Iowa two of the last four years. The vocal ensemble is accompanied by the rhythm section of Washington’s top jazz band, The Revolutionists, under the direction of Steve Shanley. The ACDA performance will include the songs “My Kind of Town Chicago,” “Bossa Nova Eyes,” “How Do You Keep the Music Playing,” and “One O’ Clock Jump.”
“We’re humbled and honored to perform at ACDA in Chicago,” noted Armstrong. “The honor is not only for this year’s Slice group, but for all of the students that have been in the ensemble in recent years. In order to be selected, we had to submit a CD of the best song representing each of the last three years.
“The kids have worked incredibly hard, but couldn’t have done it without the continued support of parents, administration, and great teachers in Cedar Rapids,” he continued. “Music education is an integral part of the culture at Washington High School and throughout Cedar Rapids Community School District.”
A special preview concert will be held Feb. 8 at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. “A Slice of Jazz” will join with British a cappella group, “VOCES8” for an 8 p.m. performance.