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Jazz alive, kicking at Yough High School

Joe Napsha
| Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
H. W. Good Elementary kindergarten students, (from left), Erica Montgomery, Bryce Middlekauff, and Glenn Whitfield, dance to the beat of the Yough High School Jazz Band, (back), as they get the kids up and dancing with a performance at the H.W. Good Elementary School in Herminie on Friday morning, April 4, 2014. The performance was a warm-up for the annual Yough Jazz Festival April 11-12.
Kim Stepinsky | for the Times-Sun
H. W. Good Elementary kindergarten students, (from left), Erica Montgomery, Bryce Middlekauff, and Glenn Whitfield, dance to the beat of the Yough High School Jazz Band, (back), as they get the kids up and dancing with a performance at the H.W. Good Elementary School in Herminie on Friday morning, April 4, 2014. The performance was a warm-up for the annual Yough Jazz Festival April 11-12.
The Yough High School Jazz Band, gets the kids up and dancing with a performance at the H.W. Good Elementary School in Herminie on Friday morning, April 4, 2014. The performance was a warm-up for the annual Yough Jazz Festival April 11-12.
Kim Stepinsky | for the Times-Sun
The Yough High School Jazz Band, gets the kids up and dancing with a performance at the H.W. Good Elementary School in Herminie on Friday morning, April 4, 2014. The performance was a warm-up for the annual Yough Jazz Festival April 11-12.

The Yough High School auditorium will be filled with the sounds of jazz music Friday and Saturday nights when several middle school, high school and college and university jazz groups will play their special brand of music.

The eighth annual Yough Jazz Weekend will feature 18 bands performing during the two-night festival, said Don Green, Yough High School band director. High school jazz bands from Greensburg Salem, Penn-Trafford, Mt. Pleasant Area, Norwin, Southmoreland and Yough's first and second jazz bands are scheduled to perform. Middle school bands from Hempfield Area's Wendover and Harrold middle schools; Franklin Regional and Norwin.

Seton Hill University in Greensburg and Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, are slated to perform as well. In the past, jazz bands from California University of Pennsylvania, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Messiah College have participated in the festival.

In addition to the high school and college jazz bands, members of the Yough Alumni Band, composed of former students and teachers who graduated from the Yough jazz program, will perform, Green said.

“We have one alumni band member flying in from Oregon to play this year,” Green said.

Yough's jazz musicians warmed up for the annual event by performing at the district's elementary schools over the last couple of weeks. The youngsters took advantage of the hour-long respite from classes to get some exercise dancing to the energetic music of the jazz band.

The festival, which Green calls one of the largest scholastic jazz festivals in the country, begins at 6 p.m. each evening. Each band will play for approximately 15 minutes, Green said.

To keep the festival moving and eliminate down time between bands, “we use a revolving stage that sets up two bands at the same time,” Green said.

“When the first band is done playing, we spin the stage. Band one spins off and band two spins to the front and starts playing,” Green said.

Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and students.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jnapsha@tribweb.com or 724-836-5252.

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