The Mercer Jazz program begins in 7th grade and continues with a broad collection of offerings at the high school level.
The MIHS Jazz Ensemble is an auditioned group of dedicated and talented students who comprise traditional big band instrumentation. The Jazz Ensemble is a class at MIHS, meeting daily during seventh period. Literature for the band consists of the finest in repertory and contemporary compositions, including all of the important historical periods and styles for big band. The group annually participates in local and regional jazz festivals, and regularly earns honors for its consistently high level of performance. The band is routinely a finalist at festivals, and has won numerous awards at area festivals, including first places, and sweepstakes awards at festivals such as the Bellevue Jazz Festival, Clark College Jazz Festival, Jazz NW and Newport Jazz Festival. The band has appeared on the KPLU School of Jazz project the past seven years, and recently partnered with Bothell High School on a concert featuring 2011 Jazz Trombonist of the year Wycliffe Gordon.
Morning Jazz 2
Morning Jazz 2 is an auditioned jazz band targeted at younger high school musicians, or students whose schedule does not allow a class such as the Jazz Ensemble. The band rehearses two days per week before school as a club. Participation in area jazz festivals is a staple of the experience for students, and the band has recently garnered awards for its excellence, including 1st place in its AA division in 2012 at Jazz NW in Spokane, WA.
Morning Jazz 3
Morning Jazz 3 provides an opportunity for all students to perform and learn jazz literature in a big band group setting. The band joins with the Morning Jazz 2 and Jazz Ensemble in traveling to area festivals. Students in the band enjoy great camaraderie and continued opportunities for growth as aspiring jazz players.
7th and 8th Grade Jazz
The IMS Jazz Ensemble is available to all interested 7th and 8th grade band students. The classes rehearse 2 days a week before school and has several performances throughout the year, including participation in at least one Jazz Festival. The course will focus on big band literature including swing, latin, and rock styles with the heaviest emphasis being traditional big band jazz. Students are also introduced to jazz improvisation, and encouraged to experiment with their own musical ideas. IMS Jazz Bands provide a fun, enriching experience for the motivated student, and experience for the student wishing to participate in the MIHS Jazz Band program.