Brenner, Wren named All-State |

Brenner, Wren named All-State

Steamboat jazz musicians among best in Colorado high schools

Melinda Mawdsley

Steamboat Springs musicians Lee Wren, left, and Kenyon Brenner were named to the All-State Jazz Band. Brenner is one of two alto saxophonists named to the band, and Wren is one of five trumpeters.

— Kenyon Brenner and Lee Wren are among the state’s top high school jazz musicians for the second consecutive year.

The Steamboat Springs High School seniors recently were named to the 2007 Colorado All-State Jazz Band, which will perform Jan. 20 at the luxurious Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.

“This is a very elite ensemble with only the best of the best high school jazz musicians from throughout Colorado,” Steamboat band director Ken Crombie said. “The entire Steamboat Springs community should be very proud to be represented by these talented young musicians.”

Brenner was one of two alto saxophonists selected, and Wren was one of five trumpet players chosen for the band.

The All-State Jazz Band is different than the All-State Band and Orchestra. Steamboat’s Renee Spady was selected to play the violin in the All-State Orchestra.

To be considered for selection, Brenner and Wren submitted CD recordings of pre-selected pieces with funk and fast swing beats, required scales and improvisational pieces.

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“We taped it really fast,” Brenner said. “It would be different if they were in the room with us, but it’s just us and a mic.”

The improvisational pieces were optional for the auditions, but Brenner and Wren both recorded improv pieces. After all, improvising is a huge element of jazz music.

“I think it greatly improves your chances,” Wren said about recording the optional pieces on the audition CD.

Wren said jazz is his favorite form of music, but Brenner, who has been accepted to the University of Northern Colorado’s music program, enjoys playing jazz and performing with the concert band.

Brenner and Wren have received the music for the All-State concert, so they already have started practicing, but rehearsal is far from done.

“We have two full days of rehearsal at the Broadmoor – like six- or seven-hour days,” Wren said. “It sounds really good on the last day.”

It helps that the best high school jazz musicians will be on stage.

The All-State Jazz Band concert is the culmination of the Colorado Music Educator’s Association Annual Conference.

“This is an incredible educational event for Colorado’s music educators and students,” Crombie said. “It features clinics, seminars, exhibits and performances from elementary through college-level groups from throughout the state.”

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