Duncan gets jazzy


Natascha Mercadante

Senior Sam Moffatt and junior Alyssa Flesher look over their new music in preparation for their first jazz choir audition.

Retro jazzy tunes are in the near future of junior Alyssa Flesher and senior Sam Moffatt’s upcoming challenge in All-State Jazz Choir. According to Vocal Music director, Kevin Zinn, only one student has ever made it into the finals of jazz choir from Duncan, and that was in 2000.

To prepare, Flesher sings through her song for the concert over and over until she’s completely proud of it, and uses a 12 bar scat that helps her write her own music.

As jazz musicians, they are exploring the art of scatting. A scat is vocal improvisation with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables or without words at all.

Jazz music has interested Flesher due to its unique rhythm and technique.

“Jazz music has a very interesting technique that’s put into it,” Flesher said. “It’s very different to me.”

Meanwhile, Moffatt uses YouTube tutorials of jazz choir performances and vocalists.

“I also talk to friends that have been in jazz choir before,” Moffatt said.

All State for jazz musicians is held at the Oklahoma Choir Directors Association state convention and they do Junior High and Mixed Treble. They only accept 24 out of 300 to 400 auditions.

Moffatt has already gotten a $250 scholarship, which was dedicated to recently deceased brother of Kevin Zinn, Jimmy Zinn.

Jazz choir is very difficult to succeed in.

“Jazz choir is not recommended, because it’s really hard to get into,” Flesher said. “Mr. Zinn is not teaching it because it is not his forte.”

Moffatt also understands the struggles of not having a teacher working with him.

“It’s hard because it’s all up to you,” Moffatt said.

The auditions are not suggested for a lot of people. Jazz music is considered a difficult genre of music to learn by many people, including director Zinn.

“It’s hard to make and we don’t have a jazz choir class,” Zinn said.

That means students have a hard time getting the proper training.

“I took [the jazz audition] on my own time,” Flesher said.

Moffatt is also experiencing anxiety.

“I’m nervous, but also excited,” Moffatt said. “This is something I really like to do and not very many people make it.”

Flesher is also very excited for the jazz choir competition.

“I’m really excited and I’m going to give it my best try,” Flesher said. “Because jazz choir is a big passion of mine.”

Flesher and Moffatt are very excited and will be soon going to auditions Nov. 19.