Community High jazz band wins Downbeat Magazine Student Music Award; will be featured guests at annual Jazz Blowout at The Ark May 22

Tempus Fugit will be featured guests at May 22 Jazz Blowout at the Ark

By Jo Mathis, AAPS District News Editor

Community High School’s annual Jazz Blowout at The Ark on Monday, May 22 will offer guests the chance to hear the award-winning jazz band “Tempus Fugit” as well as all the talented CHS jazz students.

Tempus Fugit was recently named the 2017 Winner of The DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards in the High School Combo Contest. Last year, the group won second place.
DownBeat magazine features this picture of Tempus Fugit performing at Cliff Bell’s jazz club in the June 2017 issue of the magazine.  
 “I am so very proud of the students from Tempus Fugit for winning this award,” says Community High School Jazz Program Director Jack Wagner.  “To come in first in the biggest global competition for high school combos is hard to comprehend.”
Community High School Jazz Program Director Jack Wagner is proud of all the musicians set to perform May 22 at The Ark. Photo by Jo Mathis.

Wagner said the award highlights just how talented and hard-working these musicians are.

“They are an extremely passionate group, which is partly why I am so happy for them,” Wagner said.

This year’s top CHS group Cold Tone Dreamery would love to keep the streak alive and make a run at it for the 2018 contest, Wagner said.

Cold Tone Dreamery performs at the opening charity gala at The North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January of 2017.

“They’ve got the goods, but something so big can never be counted on,” Wagner said. “Competition in the arts has certain peculiar qualities. There is always a lot of subjectivity to judging, yet high skill needs to be evident to have a chance.  And of course, any recording made in live situations for the contest submissions must go well. Music that is made up of as much improvisation as ours can result in all kinds of varieties of moods, qualities, etc., from day-to-day or moment-to-moment. So competing is fickle stuff, and it’s not really what music making is all about. But we’ll take it!”

Guitarist Danny Freiband, a junior at CHS, is the only member of both combos.  All the other Tempus Fugit players are off at college  (the award is for submitted recordings made in the previous calendar year) and are studying music at either The New England Conservatory, Berklee College of Music, or the University of Michigan.

Tempus Fugit members include:
Erez Dessel, piano
Danny Freiband, guitar
Seamus Lynch, bass
Jonathan Lynn, alto saxophone
Aidan Wada-Dawson, alto and tenor saxophones
Aaron Willette, drums
Monday’s concert at The Ark is four hours of jazz in two shows.  The schedule is:

6 p.m. Concert 1 

Jazz I

Jazz II


Cold Tone Dreamery

Tempus Fugit

7:45 p.m. Concert 2 

Noize R Us

Five Guys Burners in Ties

Jazz III

Noodlers and Company

Ticket information:
  • Tickets are $5 and will get a ticket-holder into either or both of the 6 and 7:45 PM shows.
  • Tickets will be available in the CHS main office from 7:30 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. until Monday, May 22  at noon.
  • Tickets will be sold at the door at The Ark on the evening of our show only beginning at 5:30 when the doors open. Children 5 and under get in free.
  • It is all part of the 40th Annual  International Downbeat Magazine Student Music Awards contest. Downbeat Magazine, first published in 1934, has a global readership. It features articles on performers, reviews of albums, annual critics’ and readers’ polls, listings of international jazz festivals and camps.

CHS Assistant Dean Karen Siegel is a big fan of the annual Jazz Blowout.

“It’s great to see the span of the curriculum,” she said. “You get to see the Jazz 1, 2, 3, 4 combos. It is amazing to see where students begin and where they might end.”

Siegel said Julie Andrews once noted that while some regard discipline as a chore, she saw it as a “kind of order that sets me free to fly.”
Noted Siegel: “Jazz allows students to experience the freedom through improvisation that comes through mastery of technique, theory, musicianship, and communication.”

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