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Jazzed to play Iowa City

Liberty Jazz Combo takes to Youth Stage
Anya Emerson sweats through a saxophone solo during the Iowa City Jazz Festival Saturday, June 30. The Liberty High Jazz Combo performed on the Youth Stage on Iowa Avenue at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. (photo by Cale Stelken)

IOWA CITY– The Liberty High Jazz Combo had the privilege of performing on the Youth Stage for the first time at the Iowa City Jazz Festival, Saturday, June 30. Facing temperatures in the upper 80s, the nine-student band sweated out two sets, one at 6:30 p.m. and another 8:30 p.m. Cracking jokes between songs and ending the night with a composition of their own, the group played to a sizable audience on bustling Iowa Avenue.
Liberty’s jazz combo is comprised of freshman and sophomore students and rehearsed approximately an hour per week starting in April. The group performed at the inaugural Liberty Talent Show benefiting Camp Courageous, and is proud to establish a jazz combo at Liberty for the coming years. 
“For the group, this is probably the most prestigious performance we’ve had,” said trumpet player Spencer Knight, who’s heading into his sophomore year at Liberty.
The kids rehearsed about four hours per week in June to prepare for their Iowa City Jazz Festival performance.
“For myself as a teacher, I worked to prepare them to be completely student led. That means the students counted off the tunes, made announcements, introductions and learned how to solve problems,” explained Liberty band instructor Ryan Arp. “This is a completely new endeavor for all of them and for Liberty High School. I’m so happy they rose up to the challenge and performed in front of a great crowd at the Iowa City Jazz Festival!”
“I’d just like to thank Mr. Arp for all the hard work that he’s done,” remarked Knight following the group’s second performance. “Liberty just opened this year and it’s definitely a lot of work to get a band program up and running, and he did a great job.”