Waltrip HS Jazz Band earns first place in national competition

The Waltrip High School Jazz Ensemble #1 has won first place at the National Jazz Festival.

In April, the band recorded and submitted a video for the competition. In it, the students performed three songs: “Soupbone” by John Clayton, “Lifelong Friends” by Kris Berg, and “Ram-Funk-Tious”—a tune commissioned for the jazz band and composed by Kris Berg in tribute to former Waltrip High School Band Director, Charlie J. Stephens.

It was the band’s first time competing in this festival. Lead trumpet player and senior Robert Paniagua also won an Outstanding Musician Award.

“This has been a fantastic year for our jazz musicians, in particular, as they have performed as invited guests in the International Jazz Education Network Conference, the Texas Music Educators Association Conference, won numerous first place awards at various college festivals, shared the stage with legendary jazz trumpeter, Jon Faddis and now this,” said Jesse Espinosa, Waltrip High School Director of Bands.

Watch the full recorded submission in the video below.