The FHS Jazz Choir is an elective course open to any student in grades 9-12 who is also enrolled in Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, Orchestra, or Band. Group members elect to take the course for 3 days per cycle and receive ½ credit, or 6 days per cycle for 1 credit. The FHS Jazz Choir studies the art of group vocal jazz, which includes singing extended jazz harmonies, improvising using the voice, and the chance to work with an excellent jazz rhythm section. Depending upon personnel, various configurations of large choir, small choir, mixed voicing, and all women’s/men’s selections can be performed in a single school year.
Vocal jazz fosters a unique collaboration between singers and instrumentalists. Wind players are encouraged to take the course to strengthen their aural understanding of harmony and the ability to “sing what you play, and play what you sing”. Singers benefit from the opportunity to grow as soloists, learn microphone technique, and explore singing with new sounds that stretch them beyond traditional choral repertoire. Rhythm section players gain real-world experience accompanying vocalists with a deeper sense of listening and sensitivity.
The FHS Jazz Choir performs annually at the Fall Jazz Concert, Spring Jazz Festival, the Pops Concert in May, and many other performance venues. The 2011-2012 group features 21 singers and 4 rhythm section players performing an eclectic repertoire including works by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Jerome Kern, Sara Bareilles, Esperanza Spaulding, and Jamiroquai.