Vermont Association for Jazz Education

                                    Fall 2017 Newsletter


President                                                                                                                 Past President

Anne Severy                                                                                                           Glendon Ingalls      

Middlebury Union High School                                                                             15 Giorgetti Blvd.

73 Charles Ave                                                                                                       Rutland, VT 05701

Middlebury, VT 05753                                                                                                                                                                                 H- 802-773-9069

W-802-382-1151                                                                                                    C -802-272-3824

C- 802-377-1238                   


President-Elect                                                                                                      Vice- President

Edward Owens                                                                                                       Kirk Kreitz

Lyman C. Hunt Middle School                                                                               Montpelier High School
1364 North Avenue                                                                                                5 High School Drive
Burlington, VT 05408
                                                                                             Montpelier, VT 05602                                                                                       

W-(802)- 864-8469                                                                                                 W-(802) 225-8000



Secretary                                                                                                                 Treasurer

Adam Sawyer                                                                                                         Evan Peltier

Albert D. Lawton School                                                                                        Colchester High School

104 Maple Street                                                                                                     PO Box 900

Essex Junction, Vermont 05452                                                                             Colchester, VT 05446                                                                                     

W-857-7000 x6323                                                                                                 W-802-264-5742


Advocacy Chair

George Voland



  Welcome back to a new season with the VTAJE!

We have listened to your ideas and made several changes in our festival dates, location and format to accommodate you and your students.


Festival Locations and Dates: Please double check SBAC testing dates with your administrator! This year SBAC’s will be administered to 9th graders!



High School Jazz Fest:

         April 10th (Snowdate April 12th) at Middlebury Union High School


Middle School Jazz Fest:

          April 11th (Snowdate April 13th) at Middlebury Union High School



                  Due Date: October 27th

                      *** Important Change In Procedure***

You may sign up at any time this fall on our website for either or both festivals however, all monies due ($35 annual fee plus festival fees of $20 for each ensemble and $6 per student) is due NO LATER than October 27th to ensure a spot. After this date we cannot assure a space for your ensemble.

Please take note of this postmark date of October 27th since many schools have a long wait time to process funds!

Please check the website for paying either by paypal or by check.


Signup Procedure:

You find sign up links on our website for your invoice, ensemble (s) and director information. Your program (due later) for our program will be due no later than April 1st.


Noontime Ensemble:

The Noontime Ensemble was a chance to bring all the schools together with one ensemble made up of selected students. We have tweaked the experience and will be looking for you to once again nominate students to be chosen for this ensemble, made up of at least one or more students from each participating school to work with a jazz educator Eugene Uman during the noon hour. For each school that has submitted their fee and signup information, a jazz chart will be sent to the director via email. It is recommended to have your entire ensemble learn the chart so that they may enjoy hearing the Noontime Ensemble perform it. As well, students will not know if they are selected until the day of the festival so it is imperative that all students have played the chart prior.

Changes to this year’s ensemble will be that the Noontime Ensemble will work in the bandroom on the selected chart and perform at the end of the hour in the auditorium! The remaining students and directors will be treated to a noontime clinic by jazz educators/performers in the auditorium!


Rating System:

We are contemplating eliminating the competition aspect of the festival for this year by instilling a rating system to our rubrics to further indicate to you (and you only) the level of performance of your ensemble. We feel that the VTAJE Jazz Fest should be about feedback, exposure and community while having an educationally sound musical experience! HOWEVER, you are welcome to voice your opinion on this aspect of the festival at our next meeting that will be held at the VMEA Music Conference at Castleton State University on Friday, October 6th at 2:45.



The format will be the same for both the High School and Middle School Festivals this year:

Each ensemble will receive an hour timeslot in which:

  • No more than 20 minutes playing time when the first downbeat occurs

  • Set up and tear down time

  • Clinic in the bandroom directly after your performance with one of the four adjudicators

  • Every Jazz Director will receive comments via paper from two adjudicatorswith the third adjudicator leading the clinic with your ensemble

  • Every Jazz Director will receive three USB drives of their performance. Two will contain comments and one will be a “clean copy” with no comments



Interested in having a jazz professional work with your ensemble? The Paul Brana Scholarship is available to ensembles (High School preferred) via application approval. Contact Anne Severy at for more information!





                            Slow It Down!

                               Jazz Contributor George Voland


Just what you don’t need when driving on an icy, Vermont road into a confusing white out: a tail-gating driver attempting to mate his four-wheel drive mega-SUV with your Prius!

First, put aside your imaginings of that conjoining physical act—as well as your envisioning of its unlovely offspring down the road a-piece. Consider instead the similarity of this “too-fast-for-existing-conditions” scenario to that of a jazz group rehearsal when you choose a too-fast rehearsal tempo.  Just what your group does NOT need!

Your choice of a too-brisk tempo can feel like a tail-gating menace to your players if even a few have to struggle to keep up with their parts. For them, their musical parts are a slippery road. They face of the flurry of rhythms, pitches, articulations, sound production, dynamics, interactions with other sections, a sense of the shape of their part, a sense of the direction their part points to in the overall tune. They need time to hone the craft of the difficult areas of the piece so that it can become the art that the composer intended.

Your group has a chance to flourish when you actually obey the “road” conditions, not the posted speed limit (or five to ten miles over it … twenty if you’re from Massachusetts or New York!). All the experts on individual practice agree, and their advice applies to group practice as well: Slow down to the tempo that allows you to play the part PERFECTLY.

Don’t move the metronome up until you can hear the evidence of that magical synchronicity when all the elements fall into place. Doing so gives your players, again and again, the magic of that togetherness as well.

Taking time to take time also makes it clear to them what they must do on their own if they hope to play their own parts up to tempo. (You can make it even clearer by setting a reachable tempo goal for next rehearsal, at which time you can first play the piece at the “tempo-de-learno” of the previous rehearsal, then incrementally increase it to the tempo goal for the latest rehearsal.)

Not only will your group stay on the road as you encounter the musical challenges of the piece as you sensibly head down the road toward performance. Better yet, your lack of tailgating means your group will give “birth” to the loveliest possible musical offspring (even if you never reach the suggested tempo) when you present your selection in concert. It will be a gift to your players and, thus, to the listeners as well.