Jazz Hands for the Jazz Band


Whitney Young is home to some of the most talented student musician ensembles in Chicago, and one of the jewels of the Whitney Young’s Music Department is its Jazz Band. The Jazz Band is comprised of 21 students, playing a variety of instruments such as trumpet, saxophone, and bass. The band has played in events such as the Bucktown Arts Festival and the Chicago Jazz Festival , and it is filled with award-winning musicians such as Miles Hardemon, who was the second chair of the highest-level band in the ILMEA District 1 Festival.

The Jazz Band is home to a variety of players with varying levels of experience

Some musicians have played in music ensembles prior to joining the Jazz Band.

“This is not my first time playing in a large ensemble because last year, I was fortunate enough to make the Ravinia Jazz Scholars program, where I was able to develop my playing, as well has get to know fellow jazz musicians in the CPS system.” says Sofia Rabiela ‘18 (Division 823). Although many of the musicians have been playing their instruments since elementary school, some started playing in high school.

“I started playing [the guitar] 2 years ago in December,” says Jack Fahey ‘18 (Division 843). “This is also my first time playing guitar in a large ensemble.” The group practices on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays every week, and as a musical group, they come about musical obstacles, like playing together and having perfect intonation. However, the group finds ways to overcome their problems and play amazing music.

“Musical obstacles are overcome by practicing, practicing, and practicing.” says Natalia Pei ‘18 (Division 834) . “We meet in sectionals (where each member of a particular instrument group practices their music together) to focus on just our instruments, but also, as a whole group, we find where we lock in with other players.” Even through the group’s hard work and rigorous practice schedule, the group is more than just a group that plays music together. It is a big family that inspires each other to play well.

“Personally, much of my inspiration comes from the fellow musicians that I play along with.” says Sofia Rabiela. “There is really nothing greater than hearing one of your peers that has been working so hard to nail a solo or a difficult piece of music that we have been working on. It’s not only inspiring to hear the beautiful sounds they are capable of making with their instruments, but also seeing their growth and success is the most inspiring thing in my eyes.” Other than the students, one of the other biggest inspirations to members of the group is Mr. Barbick, the band director.

“There are so many people I can look up to, but, however, I mainly look up to Mr.

Barbick, my band director.” says Natalia Pei. “ He is an amazing saxophonist. He has never lost faith in my ability and always pushes me to reach my fullest potential.”

The Jazz Band plays throughout the entire year and can be seen at their biggest event, Jazz on the Bridge, this upcoming February. Prospective students are free to audition for the Jazz Band, even if they are not in the Band program at Whitney Young. Talk to Mr. Barbick in the band room for more information about auditioning and upcoming events.