Half of the musicians in this year’s All South Jersey Honors Jazz Band hailed from the Lenape Regional High School District.
On Sunday, April 7, nine LRHSD musicians performed at Cinnaminson High School in the 18-member band, directed by Seneca High School teacher Doug Barber.
To make the cut, student musicians from throughout the region auditioned in March at Lenape High School in front of a panel of judges made up largely of band directors from high schools with participating students.
Lenape’s Len Nicholas is the longtime audition chair.
Officials say the “rigorous” audition required the students to play a solo, play scales, improvise a solo and sight read music.
“It didn’t dawn on me initially that our district had half of the performers in this year’s band,” Barber said. “Our district really does have a tremendous reputation for jazz, and it’s really cool how the kids in our four high schools get to know each other and begin hanging out and playing music together, even outside of school.”
The students selected to perform from LRHSD included Phillip Balint from Shawnee High School and Matthew Miller from Seneca High school, both on the alto saxophone; Matthew Goffin from Cherokee High School on the tenor saxophone; Kass Farnum from Shawnee High School, Joshua Free from Cherokee High School and Austin Ludwig from Seneca High school, all on the trumpet; Justin Farquhar from Cherokee High School and Josh Lamb from Shawnee High School on the trombone and Peter Rushing from Shawnee High School on the piano.
Many of the LRHSD students noted that their experience in the band was made extra special by having Barber at the helm.
He will retire at the end of this academic year.
“This is Mr. Barber’s last year, so it was great to be able to have that moment with him,” Ludwig said. “I’m glad that this was the year he conducted All South Jersey Honors Jazz Band. He picked really fun songs, and the entire experience was awesome.”
In a few weeks, Barber said students will audition for the All State Jazz Band, which is even more competitive.
“We recently had three of five trumpets in All State from LRHSD,” Barber said. “Our students’ success has been remarkable in the past decade, which is a testament to the strength of our music programs in all four district high schools.”
LRHSD also had two students play this year in the All South Jersey Middle School Honors Jazz Band: Sarah Lambert on piano from Shawnee High School, and Brooke Shapiro on tenor saxophone from Cherokee High School.