By Mark Ambrogi
For Carmel Middle School eighth-grader Oscar Cronin, performing with the Junior All-State Band meant sharing his love of jazz with a whole new group of students.
“I had a lot of fun. I didn’t know anyone there, so I met a lot of new kids,” said Cronin, who plays trombone. “It was fun to perform at such a nice place. It was just a great experience.”
The group got together and rehearsed a total of 11 hours before its performance at the Embassy Theatre in Fort Wayne at the Indiana Music Educators Association Convention Jan. 15.
“Since the stakes were so high, I felt like it helped me improve,” Cronin said.
Cronin has been playing trombone for three years.
“I like how it’s different from other instruments,” he said. “All the other instruments have their keys and buttons while we have our slides.”
Cronin was joined on the Junior All-State Jazz Band by Clay Middle School student Luke Belcher (drums).
Carmel High School freshman Charlie Harriman (guitar) participated on the All-State Jazz Band, which also played at the IMEA Convention.
“Playing in the All-State Jazz Band was an awesome experience,” Harriman said. “Getting to work and perform with individuals from all over the state and being instructed by José Encarnación was musically rewarding and a lot of fun.”
Harriman will play the guitar in the All-State Jazz Combo, which will play a free matinee performance April 10 at the Palladium.
Chris Kreke, CHS associate director of bands, said Harriman will benefit from the experiences.
“We always love to have our students involved in ensembles such as this,” Kreke said. “They are high-level musical experiences and the chance to collaborate with musicians and instructors of similar ability levels is a fantastic opportunity.”