Greater Richmond High School Jazz Band
The Greater Richmond High School Jazz Band is made up of some of the most talented high school jazz students from the region. Rehearsals are held on Sundays in the spring semester from 2-4 p.m., culminating with a concert at VCU’s Sonia Vlahcevic Concert Hall.
Auditions are held in the James W. Black Music Center at 1015 Grove Avenue at the corner of Harrison Street in the Fan District. Please enter on the Harrison Street side.
Entry audition content is typically as follows. VCU Jazz faculty usually accompany auditioners as needed; we welcome an extra copy of your sheet music. A play-along CD is possible but usually not preferable to live interaction.
- Horns: Unaccompanied performance of the melodies and, if possible, improvised solos over two tunes of your choice, especially swing, bossa, Afro-Cuban and samba. Potential accompanied improvised solo over a tune of your or the jurors' choice. Possible basic scales to assess range, tone and/or technique.
- Piano: Performance of a melody and accompaniment and, if possible, improvised solo over two tunes of your choice, especially swing, bossa, Afro-Cuban and samba. Possible basic scales to assess range, tone, and/or technique. Potential comping of a variety of styles on request, especially swing, bossa and samba.
- Guitar and bass: Performance of a melody and, if possible, improvised solo over two tunes of your choice, especially swing, bossa, Afro-Cuban and samba. Potential accompanied improvised solo over a tune of your or the jurors' choice. Possible basic scales to assess range, tone and/or technique. Potential comping of a variety of styles on request, especially swing, bossa, Afro-Cuban and samba. VCU will supply guitar and bass amps; guitarists are required to bring their own quarter-inch cords. Bassists will audition acoustically.
- Drums: Unaccompanied performance of a variety of styles on request, including swing, ballad, waltz, bossa, samba and Afro-Cuban, plus possibly trading fours. Drummers are required to bring their own cymbals, hi-hat clutch, sticks and brushes.
- All: Sight reading as provided by the jurors.
Sample tunes might include:
- Swing: “Autumn Leaves,” “Satin Doll,” “Now’s the Time,” “Take the ‘A’ Train” and “Stella by Starlight”
- Bossa: “Blue Bossa,” “Recorda-Me,” “Meditation,” Wave” and “Black Orpheus”
- Samba: Samba versions of the bossas above are acceptable.
- Afro-Cuban: “Mambo Inn” (2-3 clave), “Afro-Blue” (12/8), “Frenesí” (cha-cha), “Como Fue” (cha-cha) and “A Night in Tunisia” (possible in a variety of settings)
- Ballad: “In a Sentimental Mood,” “Body and Soul,” “My Funny Valentine,” “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” and “Misty”
- Waltz: “Up Jumped Spring,” “Someday My Prince Will Come,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “All Blues” and “Bluesette”
You are not limited to the above choices; these are merely examples. Please note that improvisation is not a requirement to join this ensemble; however, we are delighted to hear all levels of improv within your audition.
For reading practice, see the rhythmic reading exercises available in the jazz section of the Web site. Though you will not be playing this material in your audition — as it is for VCU students — it will be a great asset towards your preparation for sight-reading at your own audition.
To schedule your audition, contact Antonio García beginning in late November. Download the Richmond’s Bands brochure [PDF] and Schedule Consent Form [PDF], complete them with the required signatures and bring them to your January audition. A non-refundable fee of $175 will be due at the first rehearsal.