The Greater Richmond High School Jazz Band is made up of some of the most talented high school jazz students from the region. Alumni of this ensemble have gone on to major in music at such programs as VCU, Temple, Miami, The New School, Berklee, and at other institutions throughout the U.S.; have studied at summer jazz programs such as the Vail and Berklee Jazz Workshops; and have successfully pursued careers in other disciplines. Each year the group is selected through auditions that are held in January. Rehearsals are held on Sundays from 2-4 p.m. during the spring semester, culminating with two concerts, one held at Trinity Episcopal School on April 23, 2016, and the second at VCU’s Sonia Vlahcevic Concert Hall on May 7, 2016.
Auditions will take place January 4-5, 2016 at VCU’s James W. Black Music Center (Room 1003), 1015 Grove Avenue, Richmond, VA. Rehearsals will begin on Sundays starting January 17, 2016 from 2-4 p.m.
To schedule your audition, contact Antonio García. Download the 2016 brochure (available soon) and complete the schedule consent form with the required signatures. Bring these to your January audition. A non-refundable fee of $175 will be due at the first rehearsal.
Preparing for your Audition
Entry audition content is typically as follows. VCU Jazz faculty usually accompany auditioners as needed; we welcome an extra copy of your sheet music. A play-along CD is possible but usually not preferable to live interaction.
- Horns: Unaccompanied performance of the melodies and, if possible, improvised solos over two tunes of your choice, especially swing, bossa, Afro-Cuban and samba. Potential accompanied improvised solo over a tune of your or the jurors’ choice. Possible basic scales to assess range, tone and/or technique.
- Piano: Performance of a melody and accompaniment and, if possible, improvised solo over two tunes of your choice, especially swing, bossa, Afro-Cuban and samba. Possible basic scales to assess range, tone, and/or technique. Potential comping of a variety of styles on request, especially swing, bossa and samba.
- Guitar and bass: Performance of a melody and, if possible, improvised solo over two tunes of your choice, especially swing, bossa, Afro-Cuban and samba. Potential accompanied improvised solo over a tune of your or the jurors’ choice. Possible basic scales to assess range, tone and/or technique. Potential comping of a variety of styles on request, especially swing, bossa, Afro-Cuban and samba. VCU will supply guitar and bass amps; guitarists are required to bring their own quarter-inch cords. Bassists will audition acoustically.
- Drums: Unaccompanied performance of a variety of styles on request, including swing, ballad, waltz, bossa, samba and Afro-Cuban, plus possibly trading fours. Drummers are required to bring their own cymbals, hi-hat clutch, sticks and brushes.
- All: Sight reading as provided by the jurors.
Sample tunes might include:
- Swing: “Autumn Leaves,” “Satin Doll,” “Now’s the Time,” “Take the ‘A’ Train” and “Stella by Starlight”
- Bossa: “Blue Bossa,” “Recorda-Me,” “Meditation,” Wave” and “Black Orpheus”
- Samba: Samba versions of the bossas above are acceptable.
- Afro-Cuban: “Mambo Inn” (2-3 clave), “Afro-Blue” (12/8), “Frenesí” (cha-cha), “Como Fue” (cha-cha) and “A Night in Tunisia” (possible in a variety of settings)
- Ballad: “In a Sentimental Mood,” “Body and Soul,” “My Funny Valentine,” “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” and “Misty”
- Waltz: “Up Jumped Spring,” “Someday My Prince Will Come,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “All Blues” and “Bluesette”
You are not limited to the above choices; these are merely examples. Please note that improvisation is not a requirement to join this ensemble; however, we are delighted to hear all levels of improv within your audition.
Auditions are held in the James W. Black Music Center at 1015 Grove Avenue at the corner of Harrison Street in the Fan District.