District News

JHHS Band Members Attend Ben Folds Masterclass
Friday, November 4th, 2016
Three members of the Jackson Hole High School Band attended a masterclass with award-winning singer-songwriter Ben Folds on October 31 at the Jackson Hole Center for the Arts. Senior trombonist Elizabeth Chambers, sophomore guitarist/bassist Coby Larsen and sophomore clarinetist/pianist Jamison Peacock had the opportunity to ask Ben questions about all things music during the event, which was provided in association with the GRAMMY Foundation.

A well-known advocate of music education, Folds spoke about the many benefits of studying and performing music. JHHS Band Director Pete Closson says "Ben really nailed it when he explained how music activates and develops so many different parts of the brain, and how it helps students perform better in all academic areas." Closson adds "He also did an amazing job conveying to my students how being part of a music ensemble cultivates their ability to work collaboratively with others in all aspects of life."

In addition to being the front man for Ben Folds Five, Ben's varied career includes multiple solo rock albums and collaborations with other artists. He has also shared the stage with some of the world's greatest symphony orchestras. Ben's most recent album is a blend of pop and classical original works that soared to #1 on both the Billboard classical and classical crossover charts. Ben also spent five seasons as a judge on the popular NBC series "The Sing Off."

Following the masterclass, the JHHS band members had VIP access to Ben's soundcheck, during which he played requests in the Center Theater. The students then attended the evening performance, which included Folds teaching the enthusiastic audience how to sing four-part counterpoint harmony to accompany one of his songs. Incorporating the audience even further into his show, Ben provided the crowd with pens and sheets of paper. He then invited audience members to write song requests on the paper, fold it into paper airplanes, and then launch them onto the stage. JHHS Band Director Pete Closson summed up the evening by saying "Ben had the crowd totally engaged from start to finish, including two encore numbers. He really knows how to work a room!"

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