CMR students swing into the holiday season with jazz

Learning the ropes of a football game takes years of hard work and time. Now, imagine making it as a football player and switching to baseball in just a short time. This isn’t something easily done, especially to excel at it. Junior Brandon Rogers may not have accomplished something to that extent, but he has done so, in part.

“I had no idea what I was doing, but it was fun,” Rogers said.

Rogers will participate in his second jazz workshop as a trombonist at C.M. Russell High School on Jan. 2-3. The concert will be held Jan. 3 at the CMR auditorium beginning at 7:30 p.m. The annual workshop, which has taken place more than two decades, features band and choir members from CMR and Great Falls High School.

Rogers, an avid musician, did not begin his playing days on the trombone, nor did he spend the majority of years with it. He played the baritone from the time he was able to play until freshman year; he then switched over to the trombone. Band director Russ Kellogg asked Rogers to switch instruments, recognizing a surplus of baritones and a lack of trombones.

“I hope I’m living up to expectations,” Rogers said.

A year after switching instruments he made the top band, symphonic band. Only a year after beginning the rigorous process of learning a new instrument, he climbed his way to the top.

Sophomore year was a year of firsts for Rogers; it would be an eventful first year of jazz band, along with jazz workshop.

“I was scared,” he said.

Two days prior to the event, Rogers decided to drop his German class in favor of the jazz band. This would, in turn, give him the nod to participate in the workshop.

Learning a new craft in a short time was something Rogers was accustomed to doing.

Jazz is a whole new beast when it comes to band; there’s a  different aspect to it, he said.

After two consecutive afternoons of learning, it was time for the concert. Not only was Rogers going to play in the concert; he had a solo.

“I’m always nervous for concerts; this just added to it,” Rogers said.

The daunting task was handled well, he said; he played through it with minimal pain. It was a great learning process, and the experience helped a ton, he said.

“It would have been better if I had been less scared,” he said.

While Rogers  may be an up and coming CMR great, another has already passed through in Tanner Gliko. He played in symphonic, jazz, and pep bands at CMR. Gliko graduated last year; he’s now attending the University of Idaho, majoring in music.

Jazz band was near the top of Gliko’s favorite activities.

“I probably learned the most when I played with the jazz band,” he said.

During the workshop he learned techniques based on solo improvisation and playing with groups. Learning how to play well with groups as well as sounding good on your own is an important part of music, he said.

Professor Daniel Bukvich of The University of Idaho, Gliko’s professor, travels to CMR to conduct the workshop. Also coming along with Bukvich, there are several other professors from The University of Idaho. Bukvich, a well known composer as well as professor, has taught Gliko things about playing he could never have imagined on his own.

“Mr. Bukvich has a very unique way of teaching, but it’s good. He showed me all sorts of small things that have helped shape me into a better player,” Gliko said.

Whether it is hand position or posture, Bukvich wasn’t the only one to have an impact on Gliko’s elite skills as a percussionist.

Kellogg was extremely influential in Gliko’s playing as well.

“He taught me to think about the group more than myself,” Gliko said.

He said he may not continue on as a music major, although he isn’t sure exactly what the next path is.

“I might change for good, or I might come back to music again. I’m just not quite as into it as I thought I would be. It’s more of a hobby.”