“Outstanding” performance: Huron Rhythm Rat Jazz Orchestra honored at CMU Jazz Weekend Festival


The Huron High School Rhythm Rat Jazz Orchestra orchestrated an impressive performance on Feb. 2 at the prestigious 45th annual Central Michigan University Jazz Weekend Festival.

The event, one of the largest jazz festivals in the country developed in the early 1970’s by music professor Jack Saunders, features 66 high school big bands plus combos from 51 schools performing all over the CMU campus including Plachta Auditorium, Powers Ballroom, Bovee University Center Rotunda and Staples Family Concert Hall.

Huron competed against 16 other advanced level ensembles in the AA

Division. The festival honors bands in each division with the first, second and third place honors for Outstanding Section, Outstanding Soloist and Outstanding Band.

The Rhythm Rat Jazz Orchestra was awarded Outstanding Band and took first place in its division. Also, Huron trumpeter Jake Lee was awarded Outstanding Soloist.

This was Huron’s first performance at CMU Jazz Weekend since the 1980’s.

The Huron Rhythm Rat Jazz Orchestra features saxophone players Kevin Tan, Tim Kohn, Nathan Lee, Ethan Stancroff, Matt Kukucka and Andrew Wright; on trombone Yuki Mori (lead), Isaac Brooks, Alex Joseph, Johnson He and Christian Wright (bass), on trumpet Jake Lee (lead), Jibreel Johnson (lead), Lucy Brabbs (lead), Ethan Schwab, Will Harrison and rhythm section Charles Berofsky (piano), Clayton Farmer (piano), Ben Reynolds (guitar), Sai Paminighantam (guitar), Austin Aldrich (bass), Ian McCrystal (drums) and Oliver Mayman (drums).

Timothy Krohn is the Orchestra Director for Ann Arbor Huron High School, where he conducts the Symphony Orchestra, Concert Orchestra, and Philharmonic Orchestra.

Jazz Weekend has hosted top headliners such as Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, Chuck Mangione, Bobby Shew and many others. Jazz Weekend has also brought CMU exceptional high school musicians from across the state of Michigan together to compete, inspire, and most importantly expand their knowledge of jazz.

These high school students performed for top Midwest clinicians and adjudicators, many of whom are CMU alums.

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