CHS Jazz Band Takes Second Place at Portland Jazz Festival


Jacquelyn Johnson graphic.

By Scotty Douglass, Reporter

The Portland Jazz Festival, which was once a tradition in the 1970s, was revived this year for the first time in nearly 30 years. The festival was held on Jan. 31, at the Marshal campus.

It was a gathering of high school bands in the PIL (Portland Interscholastic League), which includes seven PPS high schools. “Everyone except Jefferson and Benson brought a jazz group,” said band director Gary Riler, “whether there was just a small combo or a full big band, like what we have here at Cleveland.”

The festival was mostly a way for all the bands to perform for each other, but it was also a competition. “We had 3 adjudicators,” said Riler. “Everyone performed on stage, and the adjudicators scored them on a sheet that’s used for qualifying for a state jazz band.”

Out of all seven bands, Grant High School placed first in the competition, while Cleveland placed second. “They [Grant] received what they call an automatic qualification,” said Riler. “They already are for sure going to be at the state jazz contest.”

Because Cleveland took second place, they got qualifying scores to go to state. According to Riler, because Cleveland got qualifying scores, “we can send in a recording of what we did.” “There will be a group of people that decide out of the pool of extra schools who gets to go [to state],” he said.

Overall, the festival along with the performances went successfully. “Everyone came at 1:00 and stayed until it was over,” said Riler. Also, there were no individual awards won according to Riler.