Steamboat trumpet player receives All-State jazz honor |

Steamboat trumpet player receives All-State jazz honor

Margaret Hair

Trumpet player Mike Makens practices with the Steamboat Springs High School Jazz Band practice. Makens is one of five players from small schools and one of 10 trumpet players to be selected for All-State honors.

— Trumpet player Mike Makens spent three to four hours recording a three to four minute audition for the 2009-10 Colorado All-State Jazz Band.

The first take of that audition — which Makens recorded with Steamboat Springs High School band director James Knapp — took about two hours to make. A few days before it needed to be postmarked, Makens decided that take wasn't good enough.

"What he said to me was … 'I just wanted to be sure that I put my best effort forward,'" Knapp said. The decision to re-record showed "maturity, commitment and dedication," and the product took about an hour and a half on a Friday evening, Knapp said.

"That's the take that we sent in and that's the one that got him in," Knapp said.

At the Colorado Music Educators Association Con­vention during the last weekend of January in Colorado Springs, Makens will be one of five trumpet players to perform in Colorado's 2010 Small School Jazz Band.

For the audition, Makens recorded required songs in fast swing and rock ballad, along with a chromatic scale and several improvised choruses on standard tunes.

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A senior in the Steamboat Springs High School jazz and concert bands, Makens has been playing the music of big bands since middle school.

In the months leading up to his All-State audition recording, Makens practiced about four days a week, he said. As the audition got closer, he stepped it up to practice every night, all the while listening to his favorite players, including Louis Armstrong and Chuck Mangione.

"I guess trumpet is just one of the things that I'm good at, so I just practice it. Everybody has their own talent, and I guess that's mine," Makens said after a jazz band rehearsal Thursday morning.

Makens said he's honored to be one of five players from small schools and one of 10 trumpet players to be selected for All-State honors, and he is looking forward to sharing a stage with some of the best of his peers.

Makens has been first trumpet in the Steamboat Springs High School jazz band since Knapp came to the school three years ago. He has since joined the school's concert band and has been selected for All-State concert band twice, Knapp said.

He'll perform with the Steamboat Springs High School jazz band in the school's holiday concert at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The High School's concert band and choir also are featured on the program.

Band concert Wednesday

Wednesday's band concert features traditional jazz tunes, some modern music and holiday selections from the jazz band; holiday music, a contemporary piece and band standards from the school's concert band; and a setting of English carols from the band and school choir.

The school's band program has grown in the past three years, and Knapp hopes the holiday concert will be one of many programs the community can enjoy, he said.

Proceeds from a bake sale fundraiser before the concert will go toward helping students pay for an April band trip to Disneyland in California. On the trip, students in the concert and jazz bands will perform in a Disneyland park, Knapp said.

The band also is looking to raise funds to have about 25 more coats made for its ski band, which performs during the annual Winter Carnival. BAP made new coats for the band's 2009 performance. As the program has grown, the group needs more coats, Knapp said. Each coat costs about $100, he said. Contact James Knapp at 871-3563 for more information or to donate.

If you go

What: Holiday concert, featuring Steamboat Springs High School jazz band, concert band and choir

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday; bake sale fundraiser is in the high school commons before the concert

Where: Steamboat Springs High School

Cost: Free

Call: 879-1562

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