We’re in that in-between time for sports in our high school coverage world. Filling that gap was a handful of concerts and other events which I covered in two area counties. It’s a fun way to spend several nights.

Some of those highlights …

– Seeing a Benton bass player swing on a stand-up bass in a Count Basie song. He practiced the bass walks on the instrument until his fingers were bleeding.

– English Valleys jazz band breezed through a medley of Led Zeppelin songs, and hammered the bass line in “Kashmir.” If you haven’t noticed, I like to follow bass lines.

– At the mass band performance at Clear Creek-Amana, before they played, the conductor asked musicians to hold their instruments in the air. He observed, “That’s the closest I’ll be to having a million dollars.”

– In the first fifth grade performance of the night, the instructor pointed out this was the first time the entire group had performed together, since they are spread out over several centers. He urged parents to not only leave their cell phones on, but to turn them up, not knowing what sound might come out of the instruments. Well, the kids nailed it.

– Hanging at the Belle Plaine school to take jazz band pictures, and I heard the guitar player working on a few jazz/blues licks. The kid is in junior high. It took me 20 years to learn those.

– Before hitting the English Valleys concert, I caught a glimpse of improvisation night. It looked like it was a fun night ahead of people making it up as they go. Heck. That’s my job.

– Some schools are lucky to have a show choir. Benton has four levels of show choir and Central Lutheran has one, as well, to make for a great night when all of them get together for a show.

Music, speech and other areas are life skills. Judging by the kids in the area, they have great lives ahead of them.

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