NIC hosts annual jazz clinics, concert

Angel Tesch, Staff Writer
February 13, 2012

Clinics bring hundreds of local students, NIC Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Co. choir perform

Over the years, NIC has held many events for high schools in the surrounding area and state. The end of January was no exception. Hundreds of middle school and high school students from across the region participated in jazz clinics Jan. 30 through Feb. 1 during the annual JazzNIC program. The clinics led to a concert Tuesday Jan. 31, featuring solos from the clinicians.

The clinicians included University of Idaho Professor Dan Bukvich, University of Idaho professor and band conductor Alan Gemberling, and Alan’s brother, Lewiston High School band director Gary Gemberling. The public was able to watch performances by the visiting middle and high school groups, which performed every hour on the hour in Boswell Hall Schuler Performing Arts Center.

“This is my second year and I feel like my group is really improving,” said Dan Nord, Lewis and Clark High School conductor.

The three clinicians provided feedback on each school’s music. Monday morning, Jan. 30, ten local middle and high schools participated. Tuesday also included ten schools, and the last day, Wednesday, featured six schools. Every school received one hour on stage. The three judges critiqued each school.

“It’s always fun here,” Bukvich said. “NIC is a great host. They really take care of us and there are a lot of good directors and talent.”

The jazz concert on Tuesday Jan. 31 went smoothly, with a few jokes from the Gemberling brothers and a tribute to Thomas H. Emerson. Emerson was a long time Coeur d’Alene resident who loved music. His study of anthropology and archaeology led to a job at a history museum in New Orleans. Emerson was linked to NIC in many ways. He was the son of Tom Emerson Sr., a former NIC trustee, as well as the brother of honorary alumnus Sandy Emerson, and brother-in-law of Jeanne Emerson, a retired English instructor who taught at NIC for more than 30 years.

The tribute piece “Radio Blues” was composed by Bukvich and commissioned with funds donated by NIC’s music department. The jazz piece had a blues flavor and was played loud and powerfully, with the intention of never forgetting Emerson.

“[The event was] intense and extraordinarily led by an amazing conductor and amazingly played,”  said Ben Silverstein, 20, general studies.

The concert featured one choir and one band, with a total of 13 songs. Pieces performed by the NIC Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Co. choir and guest clinicians included, “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby” arranged by Tom Tucker, “Fanfare for the Common Cat” by Dan Cox, “Sing, Sang, Sung” arranged by Gordon Goodwin and the Blood, Sweat and Tears song “God Bless the Child,” with Gary Gemberling on lead vocals.

“I love the band and the guests are so wonderful,” said Rena Pombrinke, nursing, 39, Rathdrum. “The woodwinds were wonderful to hear play.”

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