Traveling to four cities in 10 days and playing with a prestigious jazz band comprised of talented high school performers sounds like an entertaining way to start the summer. Amador Valley High School junior Chris Palowitch, 16, did just that.
The 2010 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra (NGJO) sponsored by the Monterey Jazz Festival features 21 skilled high school jazz musicians from around the country. Palowitch first heard about the NGJO when his brother John toured with the group in 2006.
"This is my second time trying out," Chris Palowitch said. "I tried out last year but I wasn't expecting to make it, although I would have been excited if I had. I just wanted to get my name out there."
In order to prepare for the tryout, Palowitch practiced additional hours, took a few extra lessons, and received feedback from his music teachers.
"I am excited to hang out with people who share the same interests with me and travel around to the different places to play music." Palowitch said.
Palowitch played bass trombone and trombone on the 10-day tour that started June 3 and ended July 7, with stops in Cleveland, Toronto, Montreal and New York City. Although all the members are either in high school or just graduated, Palowitch is one of the younger players and hopes to learn from the older members of the group.
At Amador, Palowitch plays lead trombone in the jazz-A band, combo and full orchestra, and tenor trombone in the wind ensemble.
In addition, he has won multiple awards from state jazz competitions and participated in state bands such as the California Band Directors Association Symphonic Bands and Wind Symphonies, the Northern California Band Association's All-Northern Honor Band and the 2010 CBDA/California Alliance for Jazz All-State Jazz Band.
In the future Palowitch would like to major in trombone performance or music production but is open to new ideas.
"One opportunity about participating in NGJO is that I can see what other young musicians are planning on doing after college," Palowitch said.
The band only met once to practice as a full ensemble before heading off on tour, so Palowitch had to prepare ahead of time.
"This set-up is giving me practice playing in bands where we may not have time to rehearse before hand," Palowitch said.
NGJO will also perform at the 53rd annual Monterey Jazz Festival on Sept. 19.