CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KWWL) – Besides dominating winter sports, we also have musical talent here in Cedar Valley.
Last month, high school jazz band Cedar Falls found out they would be attending this year’s Iowa Bandmasters Association conference.
After being unable to occur for nearly a year, group director Kyle Engelhardt said the pandemic presented many challenges to the program.
“This year we kind of had to figure it out from scratch, it was like my freshman year of teaching was all over again,” Engelhardt said, “we weren’t sure if we were just going to play the for each other, or if we would be able to do live broadcasts or if we could even play. “
With concerts and festivals canceled, senior band members Eli Smith and Jill Kestner said all they wanted was to play.
“This is my 4th year in the high school jazz band and it’s really cool to be a part of such a great high school ensemble,” Smith said.
“As a senior it’s really special to be able to play with this group and to feel normal,” Kestner said.
Knowing that this year has been far from easy, Engelhardt said he was excited about the opportunity offered by the conference.
“We are playing for a statewide live broadcast and our group is highlighted at the state conference,” Engelhardt said.
Today, after a year full of no, the jazz group is happy to finally say “yes” to take center stage again.
“Just knowing that your game is statewide is really cool,” Kestner said.
The group will have a 45-minute performance and will broadcast it live from their school auditorium. Engelhardt said they will try to limit the ability of families to watch their children shine in person.
The conference begins on May 13 and ends on May 15.