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MacArthur Jazz Ensemble wows the crowd at Midwest Clinic in Chicago

Over the last 15 years, the MacArthur Jazz Ensemble has had the privilege to perform four times at the prestigious Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago and after its most recent performance in December, even director Jose Diaz came away impressed.
“I know I am biased, but I have to say the Jazz Ensemble’s performance was the highlight of the conference,” said Diaz, who has directed the group at its three prior trips to the Windy City. “I’ve had the pleasure of presenting at the Midwest Clinic three previous times and I can honestly say this year’s performance was the best ever. This is the most talented jazz ensemble I’ve had the pleasure of directing in all of my years at MacArthur Senior High.”

The Jazz Ensemble performed in front of 2,500 music educators from around the world and had to first pass a rigorous audition (musical groups are allowed to audition every four years to land a spot at the clinic) in order to earn an invitation to the clinic. According to Diaz, by earning a spot at the 2006 conference, held at the Chicago Hilton, the MacArthur Jazz Ensemble became the only high school group to ever be invited to perform four times in the last 15 years.
During their performance on Dec. 21, the Jazz Ensemble had the distinct pleasure to work with Grammy nominated artists Patrice Rushen and Jon Faddis.
The Ensemble consists of: David Adame, Jordan Donald, Wesley Livingston, Joshua Membreno and Lauren Reyes (saxophones); Tony Holman, Luis Olguin, Stephen Ramirez and John St. Julian (trumpets), Ryan Cano, Edmundo Castillo, Luis Gonzalez and Willie Russell (trombones), Calvin Brantley, David Cutright, Catrell Gray, Jabari Johnson, Nicholas Johnson, Yvette Mata, Jermaine Smith and Ana Toledo (rhythm section) and Julio Palacios (vocals).
Due to their impressive showing in Chicago, the Jazz Ensemble received an invitation to perform at the prestigious Western International band Clinic in Seattle, set for Nov. 15-19.
“The exposure the MacArthur students received was significant, not only for them, but for our entire district,” said Dr. Jeff Laird, director of secondary performing arts education. “Their strong performance has definitely kept Aldine ISD’s name in the forefront nationally. In addition, this performance was the highlight of these young students’ musical lives to this point. This was a very big deal for the ensemble and our district.”