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Jazz Program Course Descriptions

Evanston Township High School is home to an expansive extra-curricular Jazz Program consisting of three big bands and multiple combos. The mission of the ETHS Jazz Program is to develop our students to excel in jazz through education and performance. Emphasis is placed on highlighting the enduring elements and important innovations of this distinctly American music. The Jazz Program is open to students grades nine through twelve of all ability levels; however, to be considered for either a Big Band or a Jazz Combo, you must be currently enrolled in Band, Orchestra, or Choir, and/or a music elective course (i.e. Seminar in American Music, Music Technology & Recording I/II, Guitar I/II, AP Music Theory) with immediate intentions to join Band, Orchestra, or Choir. Evanston Township High School Jazz Big Bands and Jazz Combos function as credit-bearing curricular courses on your transcript.

Big Bands at Evanston Township High School

Our big bands are modeled after the great swing bands from the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s. Big bands have four sections: Saxophone section (5-6 saxes), Trumpet section (4-5 trumpets), Trombone section (4-5 trombones), and a Rhythm section (guitar, piano, bass, drums, and vibes). The ETHS Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Band utilize vocalists.

ETHS Jazz Ensemble

This is the premier big band at Evanston Township High School and intended for the most advanced and serious jazz musicians. The Jazz Ensemble prides itself on pushing the boundaries of what is possible for a high school big band through performing the most challenging jazz literature, utilizing advanced improvisation skills, and performing at festivals and venues around the country. Students are expected to be studying privately on their jazz instrument. TheJazz Ensemble maintains an active performance schedule throughout the year. Interested students must complete an ETHS Jazz Audition to be considered for the Jazz Ensemble.

Rehearsal Schedule:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday ----- 7:00 - 7:50 a.m. ----- Jazz Room A113


ETHS Jazz Band
Jazz Band is the cadet big band at ETHS and is intended for developing jazz musicians. This group builds on and expands the fundamentals established in Lab Band while performing more advanced jazz literature and exploring improvisation more thoroughly. The Jazz Band performs multiple times per year, including several festival performances. Interested students must complete an ETHS Jazz Audition to be considered for the Jazz Band


Rehearsal Schedule:
Tuesday, Thursday ----- 7:00 - 7:50 a.m. ----- Jazz Room A113


ETHS Lab Band

Lab Band is our entry-level big band. No prior jazz experience is necessary; however, proficiency on your instrument is required. This group establishes the fundamentals of tone production, ensemble sonority, jazz articulation, and beginning improvisation. Lab Band performs several times throughout the year, including festival performances. Interested students must complete an ETHS Jazz Audition to be considered for the Lab Band.

Rehearsal Schedule:
Tuesday, Thursday ----- 7:00 - 7:50 a.m. ----- Band Room A111

Jazz Combos at Evanston Township High School

For the more advanced jazz musicians, the ETHS Jazz Combos emphasize improvisation, arranging/composing, and performance in a small group setting. Jazz Combos rehearse once per week; however, members are expected to meet additionally outside of school. In order to be considered for a Jazz Combo, students must complete an ETHS Jazz Audition and be a member of a Big Band. Students not participating in a Big Band will be considered at the director’s discretion. 

Rehearsal Schedule:
Monday —— 4:00 - 5:30pm, 5:30 - 7:00pm

Parent Volunteer Information

Throughout the school year, the ETHS Jazz Program utilizes help from our families to make our student experiences run smoothly. Setting up or cleaning up on concert days, volunteering time in preparation for and in running the ETHS Jazz Festival, and chaperoning trips are all great ways to help out our students and staff. For more information, click below!

Parent Volunteer Form
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