Valley Vocalese Wins Iowa Jazz Championships

The Valley High School vocal jazz group Vocalese won first place in class 4A at the 2013 Iowa Jazz Championships, the largest and most regarded vocal jazz competition in the state.

Valley was invited to perform at the Iowa Jazz Championships after submitting a video featuring a performance recorded early in February. Nine groups from around the state at the 4A level were selected to participate in the contest, including two from Valley – Vocalese and Vox, Valley’s all female ensemble.

Vocalese performed “Morning Coffee,” a Bill Cantos tune arranged by Michele Weir; “Amazing Grace” by Greg Jasperse; and a Police original entitled “Murder By Numbers,” arranged by Kerry Marsh. “Amazing Grace” was performed a cappella while the group was accompanied by a student combo on the other two pieces.

Members of Vocalese are Shelby Reddig, Casey Johnson, Emma Stier, Claudia Malchow, Jessica Martens, Stephanie Hansen, Becca Finkelshteyn, Emma Lind, Tommy Lau, Zach Lepperd, Connor Wang, Noah Reddig, Sam Cacciatore, Austin Weiser, Andy Han, and Michael Key. The instrumental combo consisted of Lauren Johnson on bass, Zane Gedler on drums and Nick Behrends on piano. Vocalese is directed by Haley Gibbons and Vox is directed by Ryan Deignan.

Stephanie Hansen, who is an instrumentalist in addition to being a vocalist, and combo members Lauren Johnson, Zane Gedler and Nick Behrends are also members of Valley’s Jazz Orchestra, which was also the 4A champion at the Iowa Instrumental Jazz Championships earlier this month.