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Petzel: Richards Jazz Band earns three top honors in March

Updated: May 15, 2013 6:13AM



Greetings, fellow Oak Lawnians! March was a very busy and successful month for the Richards High School Jazz Band and its Encore Show Choir.

On March 16, the two groups traveled to Herscher to compete in the annual Herscher Jazz and Swing Festival. The jazz band successfully took first place and the show choir placed third.

The two groups also received the Sweepstakes Award for being the two performance groups at the competition with the highest combined score. Richards also received the Sweepstakes Award last year.

Chuck Martin has been Richards’ band director since 1995 and a music educator for more than 30 years. He was especially pleased to have both groups compete and represent Richards at the festival.

On March 23, the high school’s Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo competed in the Chicago Area Jazz Festival at T.F. South High School in Lansing, and both received a Division 1 rating, which Martin explained is similar to a “superior rating, the highest you can get.”

As if that weren’t impressive enough, that same day the Jazz Band traveled to Illinois State University to participate in the Illinois State Invitational Jazz Festival. The Richards band placed first in Class AAA and was selected as the overall Grand Champion of the two-day festival.

“March 23 was the first day of spring break for the students, so it was good that we could get two events done in on one day,” Martin said.

The Jazz Band, which usually has between 20 and 25 members, includes students in grades nine through 12. Madeline Doon, a junior who plays piano and flute, was selected as one of five outstanding soloists at the ISU festival.

“Madeline is very strong academically and musically. She works real hard and is a joy to work with,” Martin said.

The Jazz Band was also the opening act for the Saturday night grand finale concert that featured the Illinois State University Jazz Band with guest jazz trumpeter, Wayne Bergeron.

Martin can’t say enough good things about his music education students.

“They are some of the most dedicated and hardest-working and committed students that I have ever had the pleasure to teach in my over 30 years of being a music educator. They are a joy to teach,” Martin said.

He’s also pursuing his dreams. On April 6, he traveled to Omaha to compete in final auditions to be a performer of the national anthem at the College World Series. He performed his rendition of the anthem on a saxophone.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Martin said. “It’s on my bucket list. I was a finalist last year, too.”

Congratulations to Martin, the Jazz Band, the Encore Show Choir and to Richards teachers and students for their outstanding performances and success!

Here are this week’s celebrity birthday announcements: Happy birthday to Grace Cadeau, who’s turning 7, from her parents Dale and Rob, Isabelle, grandparents and Chico. Happy 9th birthday to Misty Simon from her family. Happy 11th birthday to Stephanie Sawicki, from her parents Yolanda and Steve and brothers Steven, Sterling and Sebastian. Kacie Misner’s parents wish her a happy 14th birthday.

Julie and Steve Kamper wish their son, Samuel, a happy 14th birthday. Sandy and Dave Wills send loving birthday wishes to their grandchildren, Taylor Guagenti, who’s turning 15, and Alex Griff, who’s turning 28. Happy 22nd birthday to Jessie Wierdak from her parents Linda and Bob. Happy 23rd birthday to Aaron Weibel from his parents and sister.

Happy birthday to Vicki Sinon from her daughters Rachel and Katelyn and family. Bob McCarville wishes his wife, Barb, a happy birthday. Happy birthday to Debbie Weston from her family and Cocoa. Birthday wishes go out to Roxanne Sanderson from her family. Happy birthday to Jeannine McFee from her Aunt Antoinette.

Birthday wishes go out to Pam Fleming from Tim and Polly. Happy birthday to Alicia Rylko from Glen and their family. Karen Hansen’s children and grandchildren wish her a happy birthday. Birthday wishes go out to Avis Clendenen. Happy birthday to Jack Baker from his family and friends. Happy birthday to George Cachares.

Wedding anniversary wishes go out to Nick and Julie Leveille who are celebrating their 7th anniversary.

Keep your fellow Oak Lawnians informed about birthdays, special events or special “stuff” going on with your family or within the community. Call me at (708) 899-9544.

Until next time...



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