Arts and Entertainment

Bellevue High Jazz Festival to showcase 50 bands

Springtime will get jazzy again as the Bellevue High Jazz Festival hosts 50 bands on May 2-3.

The annual festival, which includes bands from middle, junior high and high schools, draws bands from as far away as British Columbia, Spokane, and Idaho. The schools compete for trophies in the A, AA, and AAA categories with an overall sweepstakes trophy awarded to the best overall band.

The finals concert for the middle school/junior high divisions will be held Friday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m. and will feature the Bellevue High Jazz I band. Tickets are $7.

The finals concert for high school divisions will be held Saturday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m. and will feature the Central Washington University Jazz Band. Tickets for this concert are $10.

Concerts will be held in the Bellevue High School Performing Arts Center.

The festival gives young jazz students the opportunity to be critiqued by high-caliber judges, to perform in front of a live audience, and to listen to some great jazz music. This year’s adjudicators are Chris Bruya - Central Washington University, Rich Inouye - Clark College, Greg Yasintsky - Washington State University, and Peter Sommer - Colorado State University.

The first festival was held in conjunction with “The Buddy Rich Show” named after the famed drummer. Rich and his band drew an audience of nearly 1,000 people the first year. The event, held annually ever since, fills the Bellevue High Performing Arts Center to capacity and benefits the Bellevue High School band program, directed by Vince Caruso.

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