Wheeling Jazz Musicians Score Big Win at Annual IDEA

Article excerpt

Tucked away, back in the practice rooms of Wheeling High School, Samantha Melinyshyn and Andrew Panzer have spent hours jamming with jazz CDs as a way to hone their playing skills and sense of rhythm.

Whether during their lunch hour or after school, the two band students loved challenging and encouraging one another, Panzer on trumpet and Melinyshyn on trombone.

Now their passion for music, and more specifically jazz, has paid off. At last monthAEs All State Festival, hosted by the Illinois Music Educators Association, the two Wheeling seniors not only were selected for the All State Jazz Band, they were named to the festivalAEs Honors Combo.

The prestigious combo has only seven players, the best trumpet, trombone, saxophone, piano, bass, drums and guitar in Illinois.

"To have two students selected for this all-star, all state group of the best high school jazz musicians in Illinois is an incredible accomplishment," said Brian Logan, Wheeling High School director of bands.

Hundreds of the best high school jazz musicians from high schools all over Illinois auditioned back in October for one of the All District Jazz Ensembles.

This is good news for Wheeling High School and its Fine Arts Department, but could be intimidating to area jazz bands headed to the 24th annual Jazz in the Meadows festival Feb. 28, where Wheeling is the defending grand champion.

Judging by these latest accolades, WheelingAEs ensemble looks just as good as ever.

"(Samantha and Andrew) have also done a lot of listening to jazz and have a large jazz library of recordings," Logan adds. …