Student selected for District Jazz

Meyersdale Area School District  |  Posted on

Christian Nave was among student musicians to perform in the 2024 PMEA District 6 Jazz Festival.

Christian Nave, a junior, was recently selected to represent MAHS at the 2024 PMEA District 6 Jazz Festival held January 18-19. A winter storm shortened the festival but certainly did not dampen the spirits of the musicians selected to perform. The festival was supposed to be two days of rehearsal with a concert at the conclusion, but was adapted to fit in a full day of rehearsals followed by an abbreviated concert that same evening.

This year’s event was hosted by the Tussey Mountain School District. The following PMEA District 6 schools had representation in musicians: Altoona, Bishop Guilfoyle, Bishop McCort, Cambria Heights, Central, Central Cambria, Chestnut Ridge, Conemaugh Township, Everett, Ferndale, Forest Hills, Greater Johnstown, Hollidaysburg, Meyersdale, North Star, Northern Bedford, Penn Cambria, Portage, Richland, Shanksville-Stonycreek, Tussey Mountain, Tyrone and Westmont Hilltop. The festival is comprised of four musical ensembles: two jazz bands, an a cappella choir and a modern rock band.

Nave, who plays the alto saxophone, was selected to perform in the District Jazz “Red Band.” The Red Band featured just 26 students.

“Christian’s participation in the District Jazz Festival this year is an incredible honor as he was chosen as one of four alto saxophones out of the entire PMEA District 6, which comprises four counties, to represent our school in this event. He loves jazz music and his hard work and dedication paid off,” explained Katie Howard, director of bands.

The process in which to be considered for this honor requires dedication and a great deal of preparation. According to Nave, “The first step to getting into district jazz is an audition. You have to play a song, and then do 16 measures of improv, making up your own song. Once selected, you are put into a chair, being your placement. I was selected third out of 26 students. I was selected for the Red Band.”

Jonathan Ragonese was the director for the Red Band. He is a renowned composer, arranger and saxophonist, with an impressive repertoire that includes performances at Carnegie Hall and a host of recordings and awards.

Nave said the experience was incredible and memorable despite the circumstances.

“We practiced numerous songs, two of them being ‘Chickenscratch’ and ‘For the Lil’ Ones’. My favorite part of this whole experience was having the privilege to play in the band with such talented musicians,” he explained.