Homer and Soldotna high schools collaborate in jazz band concert in the Mariner Theatre

The Soldotna High School and Homer High School jazz bands presented a combined concert to a Homer audience at the Mariner Theatre on the evening of Wednesday, April 10.

Mark Jurek, Soldotna band director, and Eric Simondsen, Homer band director, tried a combined concert in the fall semester on the Soldotna campus.

“It’s nice to get two bands that are both not quite large enough together to make music. Our principals let the jazz band students take two hours to practice together in the afternoon and share the effort with the community. It also gives the young musicians just a chance to get to know each other socially,” Simondsen said.

When the Homer band traveled to Soldotna, they were able to stop at the Chapman School in Anchor Point on the way and provide a small concert. Soldotna did the same thing with Skyview Middle School and Soldotna Elementary en route to Homer.

“I don’t know what the plan will be next year,” Simondsen said. “We’ll have to see what everyone’s teaching assignments are first. It would be nice to include Kenai. We also did a series of exchange workshops with Chugach last year.

“Any time we have an opportunity to do something collaborative, I’m up for it. But, for now, we’ll do an exchange with SoHi at least twice each year. That’s our goal.”

This week on Tuesday the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District High Schools met at Soldotna High School for a solo and ensemble musical competition event. “This is the ASAA Region 3- South local qualifying event for instrumental solos and ensembles. Students from schools around the district will present their prepared solos or ensembles for adjudication and a brief clinic. Students receiving a rating of “Superior” will qualify to participate in the ASAA state solo and ensemble festival in Anchorage in May,” Simondsen said in an email. Seventeen HHS students planned to attend.

The KPBSD middle school mass choir performance also took place on Tuesday evening in Homer. Participating schools included Skyview Middle, Nikiski Middle, Kenai Middle, Aurora Borealis Charter School and Homer.