The state’s # 1 ranked Central Middle School jazz group


Nederland’s Central Middle School Jazz Band was named the State’s Best Jazz Band by the Texas Music Educators Association.

“It really gives me confidence and makes me feel good about everything we’ve done,” Andrew Huynh, an eighth-grader who played the trumpet in the winning ensemble, told The Enterprise. “It was great fun with all the other people, and (overall) it was just a really good experience.”

Band manager Jonathan Blake said he knew the band had a chance to enter the statewide competition when he listened to them play last year.

“We’ve had some great bands in the past, but I’ve heard this band that played TMEA and I kept saying to my kids, ‘I think we can do it. I think we can at least place, but let’s just see what happens.

The competition consisted of submitting live performance recordings throughout the school year.

A panel of five judges ranked the groups after listening to them.

Blake said when the students heard about the award, they were elated – jumping up and down and screaming – especially given the disruptive year the students faced due to the flooding and the pandemic.

“At the end of the day, I know they wish we could go to the convention in San Antonio and stay at the hotel and be on the River Walk and everything, but you know there are good things about it. topic, ”Blake said. “I know they couldn’t finish last year and they were all really disappointed about it, but I think it’s a great way to put it all into perspective, and we’re able to wrap it up. on 2020. “

Instead of a live performance, the band will record one for the TMEA convention.

In addition to the ninth and eighth graders who performed the winning pieces last year, the new students will also have the chance to be registered for the convention.

“I feel honored to be a part of the program,” said Jaime Magana, a seventh grader who joined the jazz group this year at The Enterprise. “I can’t wait to play better and to play different types of music. “

Huynh said this honor will push new members to be just as tall.

“They know they still have to work harder just to live up to their name and train a lot,” he said.

Blake said the state’s highest award was the first time he is aware that the district has had an entire ensemble recognized at this level.

This honor could also help develop the program.

Kendall Dinh, an eighth grader at Central Middle School, has decided to join the jazz group for the first time this year.

“I saw my friends playing last year, and how the notes are so different from a regular band,” Dinh said. “It seemed like a lot more fun.”

Unlike some bands across the state, Blake does not limit participation to classic jazz instruments like trombone, saxophone, trumpets, percussion, and guitar.

“We have a French horn player that we incorporated… we have flute players and we also have different percussion instruments,” he said. “Everyone is welcomed into a jazz group; it’s not just for traditional big band instruments.

While the students, who Blake said he was infinitely proud of, have won the highest honor, they say they couldn’t have done it without him.

“We have to thank the group director, Mr. Blake,” Dinh said. “He’s a great help, different from all the other group directors. He helps in a different way, he will take his time to come and help you.

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Henry R. Wright