Chronicle Times area High School Jazz Ensembles performed very well at the State Jazz Band Championships, held on Tuesday in Des Moines.
South O'Brien, directed by first-year director Ryan Rager, were judged as Champions of Class 2A, beating out Roland-Story for the trophy. The school, frequent state competitors in the past, returned to Des Moines in style, winning the state championship.
Though residents of the district got pretty used to winning state athletic championships in their former school districts back in the 60s and 70s, Tuesday's win by the Jazz Ensemble is the first state championship in any extra-curricular activity since the Paullina, Primghar, and Sutherland districts merged to form the South O'Brien school district several years ago.
In Class 1A, Aurelia returned to the Championships for the 11th straight year, this time as "defending champs" following their 2007 first-place showing. In spite of having another excellent ensemble this year, Aurelia fell just a little bit short this time around. Of the five judges in Des Moines, two picked Aurelia as the best in class, but three judges chose Southern Cal, giving SC the champiionship, with Aurelia finishing second. The Aurelia band is directed by Jason Heeren.
Southern Cal, like Aurelia and South O'Brien, has had a very competitive band program for many years. Southern Cal has been "bouncing back-and-forth" between designated classes for years, due to having an enrollment size 'on the bubble' between classes. Next year, they are schduled to return to Class 2A.
The youthful Cherokee Washington High Jazz Band, directed by Paul McEntaffer, placed 9th out of 15 bands in Class 2A.