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Pictured is the Mitchell High School jazz band Saturday outside of the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha, Neb., showing their Division I rating plaque after the awards were announced for the UNO Great Plains Jazz Festival. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Stahle)
Pictured is the Mitchell High School jazz band Saturday outside of the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha, Neb., showing their Division I rating plaque after the awards were announced for the UNO Great Plains Jazz Festival. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Stahle)

MHS jazz band receives highest rank at Omaha festival

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life Mitchell, 57301
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

Mitchell High School's jazz band received high marks from a weekend festival.

The MHS jazz band attended the UNO Great Plains Jazz Festival in Omaha, Neb., on Friday and Saturday.

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Saturday, the band received a superior rating (the highest rating given), and four outstanding musicianship awards were given to Brenden Lehr, Garrison Gross, Sid Stemper and Neil Schlimgen. These awards were given to various students from all participating bands who showed a high level of competence and musicianship.

Founded in 1973, UNO's Great Plains Jazz Festival is one of the premier educational jazz festivals in the nation. Ensembles perform for written and taped comments and then participate in a clinic from one of the adjudicators.

Participants also have the opportunity to attend general clinic sessions presented by guest artists and adjudicators. The highlight of the festival is the opportunity to hear professional jazz concerts for free. Much like the Palace City Jazz Festival, this is a noncompetitive format that is centered more around education and less on trophies.

The band also took part in the evening concert Friday that featured the UNO jazz band along with professional artists Roger Neumann, Scott Whitfield and Adam Larson. The band also participated in a workshop/discussion with Diane Schuur, who has been performing since childhood and is the winner of two Grammy Awards.

-- Source: Ryan Stahle

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