Clark hosts its 55th annual Jazz Festival

Well dressed young adults polished and practiced their instruments outside of Gaiser Hall on Thursday afternoon.

Later that day and the days that followed, smooth jazz music played over the loudspeakers, bathing the campus in a classy aura.

The Jazz Festival at Clark finished it’s 55th annual celebration Saturday, concluding a three-day competition for middle schools and 1A-4A high schools.

The first day was dedicated to middle schools, but the ensembles on the second and third days were for schools in the 1A-4A divisions.

Kory Terrell, a 13-year-old musician from the Pleasant Valley Ensemble, explained his passion for jazz music: “My Dad was a big influence, dad loved jazz.”

Kory and Sam Smithline, 14, say they’ve been practicing nearly every day of their lives, preparing for each annual competition. Sam has been practicing ever since the fifth grade.

Rich Inouye, Jazz Festival director, said “it’s amazing to see the level of jazz education and how well educated these middle schoolers are.”

“Everybody just pitches in, works their tail off,” said Inouye, “but in the end it’s all about jazz music.”

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