In the Spring of 2005 in Virginia Beach the group captured 1st Place at a North American Music Festivals competition and received a Superior Rating and in 2006 placed 2nd at a Music In The Parks festival at Dorney Park. In 2009 the band took second place in Myrtle Beach, SC at a Fiesta Val with Senior trumpeter Ryan Ermey winning the Best Soloist Award. In May of 2010 the Ensemble took first place at at NAMF in Virginia Beach, VA as well as winning the Best Overall Instrumental Performance trophy. Senior Alto Saxophonist Andy Horne won the Outstanding Jazz Soloist Award. In 2011 the Ensemble again captured first place at a Heritage Music Festival in Boston, MA and freshman bari sax player Jon Abesh won the trophy for BEST JAZZ SOLOIST. In 2012 in Williamsburg, VA at a Music In the Parks Festival the ensemble placed first in high school jazz ensemble competition and received a Superior Rating, with sophomore guitarist R.C.Rossell winning the Oustanding Jazz Soloist Award. In 2013 the group traveled to Myrtle Beach, SC and competed in a Festivals of Music festival. The ensemble placed first in their division with a Superior Rating, won the BEST OVERALL AWARD for the highest score, the rhythm section won the BEST SECTION AWARD, and junior Ryan Thieke(drum set) won the OUTSTANDING JAZZ SOLOIST award. In 2014 the ensemble won Best Rhythm and Best Trumpet Section awards at the Pitman Jazz Festival along with a Superior Rating. The band qualified for the NJ State Championships and placed 4th at the Finals with Seniors Carmelo Villegas and RC Rossell winning Outstanding Soloist Awards. A Superior Rating at the VA Beach Festival closed out an outstanding year. In 2015 the Ensemble, with 14 new members and 7 freshmen, once again qualified for the NJ State Finals. The Ensemble swept all trophies at a Heritage Festival in Boston, MA. Drummer Steve Kummer won Best Soloist Awards at the NJ State Prelims and at the Boston Festival. In 2016 the band again qualified for the NJ State Finals placing 5th and earned Superior Ratings at the Deptford Jazz Festival and at a M.I.T.P. Festival in Williamsburg, VA. Senior Pianist Dylan Hafner won a Best Soloist Award and the ensemble won the Best Overall Instrumental Performance trophy.
The West Jazz Ensemble is a curricular/co-curricular group at the school that meets during the school day as the Research in Musicclass. Thursdays after school are reserved for sectional and full rehearsals. Membership in the group is by audition and is open to any student in Grades 9-12. Alto, Tenor and Baritone Saxes, along with trumpets, trombones, keyboard, electric guitar, bass guitar and percussion make up the instrumentation. This is the basic "big band" instrumentation. Auditions for the group take place for the following school year in late January/early February. Audition materials are available from Mr. Mark. Some years a second band will run as a co-curricular group if there are enough students to make this happen. .
The group explores the many different styles of jazz and gives each student the opportunity to use their creativity by learning the art of jazz improvisation. Along with four school concerts each year the Ensemble also performs at the District Jazz Showcase and local festivals and competitions as well. Various local and school events round out the group's performance schedule. Select individuals are chosen to play with the Jazz Combowhich plays at a variety of events throughout the school year and into the summer.
CONGRATS FOR A SUCCESSFUL COMPETITION AT SIX FLAGS AMERICA. FIRST PLACE IN DIVISION, SUPERIOR RATING, BEST OVERALL, and MILES SMITH WON MEDAL FOR OUTSTANDING JAZZ SOLOIST. HIGHEST SCORE EVER ACHIEVED BY A WEST JAZZ ENSEMBLE AT AN EVENT LIKE THIS!