Among the 18 best high school jazz musicians in Ohio this year are Boardman High School Students Miles Spearman and Rohun Vangal. Miles is a sophomore trumpet player and Rohun is a senior piano player. Both students are members of BHS Jazz Ensemble 1.
The Ohio Music Education Association organizes an All-State Jazz Ensemble every year to perform at its annual Professional Development Conference. Prospective candidates from Ohio high schools go through a blind audition process. The selected group is a standard big band of 17 or 18 musicians. There are only five saxophones, four trombones, four or five trumpets, one each of guitar, piano, bass, and drums.
Miles and Rohun spent the first weekend in February in Cleveland rehearsing with the other students selected for the ensemble. They were led by Dean Sorenson who is Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Minnesota and a composer/arranger for the Neil A. Kjos Music Company. The group performed on Saturday, February 4 to a packed Marriott ballroom adjacent to the Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland.
The students’ band and jazz director Thomas Ruggieri was the chairman for this year’s All-State Jazz Ensemble. He was with the group throughout the rehearsals and the performance. He says, “We have some amazingly talented young jazz musicians in Ohio. It was a pleasure to be part of the process and to watch them come together for a great performance.”