Every year, the Jazz Festival is held for performing bands across New Jersey to demonstrate their skill level and improve their musical education and experience.
“There’s no education like this unless you go to a big festival,” Bongiovi says. “It’s … mostly about the surrounding community that doesn’t have the resources that we do. When we bring in these communicators and guest artists, [it] allows the surrounding schools to participate.” As well as being open to the surrounding schools, the Princeton Jazz Festival is also the only one that includes a day devoted to middle school performances.
“Not only is it a tradition to have only every year, but Mr. Bongiovi makes a great point of featuring a lot of middle school bands,” Pollack says.
“Our festival is the largest educational festival in New Jersey, so it gives the students feedback from independent judges who will listen to their performance and give them grades,” Bongiovi says. “[It] also does backstage competition, or adjudication of sight reading and improvisation
Many of the band directors and students believe that because of the inclusion of the middle school band day, many of the young musicians will be more immersed in performing once they get to an older age.
“…Tthe community aspect of the festival is a great learning experience for kids … especially at Princeton, the entire sight reading room and improv room offers a unique opportunity for middle school kids to test their skills,.” said Mr. Cesar Rainho, one of the directors of the Cranbury Middle School Jazz Band.
The festival will be held on April 28 and 29, tickets are 5 dollars for students and 10 dollars for adults.