Skip to main content
The Danbury Review



Submit Pictures

MVAOCOU Jazz Coalition Earns Invite to State Championships

    Practice makes perfect. Persistence may lead to success. The MVAOCOU Jazz Coalition combined practice and persistence to perfect their music. This, along with their musical talent, gave the group an automatic invitation to the Iowa Jazz Championships.
    The group's competitions started a bit slowly, but that was okay. At the Simpson Jazz Festival on January 24th, they placed 3rd out of 6 bands. On February 8th the participated in the Morningside Jazz Festival. They placed outside the top 3 among 17 bands, a little disappointing for the group. However, when it mattered most, the group did not disappoint themselves. They placed second at the NWIBA District Jazz Festival in Le Mars on Monday, February 19th. This placing gave them an automatic invitation to the Iowa Jazz Championships. As Jazz Coalition Director David Kovarna commented at the Parade of Bands last Thursday (pictures are inside this Review), he was much less stressed than previous years because the automatic invitation meant that they didn't have to audition this year to qualify.
    "This group has made steady and continuous improvement since we started rehearsals at the end of October," commented Kovarna. Most have done a lot of work individually to make it all come together. We are still improving because there is still work to be done. We want each performance to be a notch or two better than the previous which we've been able to do pretty consistently. All the preparation they've put in allows them to relax and have fun with each performance."
    This group of 16 has a lot of veteran experience, another factor which helps the cause. The seniors are Jasmine Schaffer (daughter of NiKay Schaffer of Mapleton), Drew Zahnley (son of Dawn and Dave Zahnley of Anthon), Paige Schmidt (daughter of Sarah and Kurt Schmidt of Mapleton), Logan Reed (son of Mindi and Louis Reed of Castana), Caralyn Henschen (daughter of Peggy and Jim Henschen of Charter Oak), Claire Weber (daughter of Michelle and Brett Weber of Danbury), Lizabeth Hamann (daughter of Jana and Lance Hamann of Correctionville), and Parker Gee (son of Kellie and Jeff Gee of Mapleton). The other half of the crew are underclasspersons Jaiden Boyle (daughter of Kim and Paul Boyle of Correctionville), Jax Kluver (son of Angie Hack of Soldier), Claire Smallwood (daughter of Katrina and Shane Smallwood of Mapleton), Sara Rosener (daughter of Angie and John Rosener of Mapleton), Evan Cowgill (son of Danielle and Doug Cowgill of Anthon), Max Babl (son of Marcella and John Babl of Mapleton), Aiden LeClair (son of Saraha LeClair of Castana), and Delani Welte (daughter of Nikki Ford of Mapleton and Nick Welte of Danbury).
    This group of 16 instrumentalists and 1 director puts a lot of dedication into their group. Most are also involved in other school organizations, but they get up early to get in a time where all could meet.
    "Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning at 7:30, we all practice until school starts," said Claire Weber, a 4-year member of the Coalition. "Mornings are usually available for most of us students as nights usually are not."
    The multi-organizational involvement did play a factor in this year's district competition. Along with that competition in Le Mars, the MVAOCOU BPA was competing in Des Moines. Six of the jazz band players are also in BPA. Parental involvement, a very important asset in all student organizations, played a big part so that those six could get here, there, and everywhere.
    "We were never able to attend at Districts before because the State BPA Conference in Des Moines is over the same day, and many of us are in both events, but this year, we decided to figure out a way to make both events work," explained Lizzy Hamman, a 3-year member of the Coalition. "I talked to my mom and she was awesome and agreed to drive the six of us to Des Moines on Sunday to our competitions for BPA, back home that night, then from Le Mars to Des Moines Monday after our Jazz Competition to compete in our final BPA event. All of us were really tired after all the driving but when we got the text from Mr. Kovarna saying we made it to Jazz Champs, we all yelled for joy and got a lot of weird looks from the restaurant patrons where we were."
    As Kovarna had mentioned, most of the musicians practice individually. One senior, new to the Coalition, put in hours of practice even before this year's band began.
    "My friends have pushed me to do jazz band for a couple of years, and finally, they sat me down and said, 'You're doing Jazz Band!'" stated Caralyn Henschen. "I practiced on my trumpet for hours. Once I found out I made it, I was so excited. I do not regret a single decision in joining Jazz Band. I have gotten so close to everyone in Jazz Band and I am proud to be a part of a band that plays great jazz."
    The more seasoned jazz musicians in the group also found a need to practice in order to keep up and improve their quality of music.
    "One of the hardest challenges of being a part of the jazz band is playing up to the level needed each year to continue to grow and make great jazz," commented Paige Schmidt, a 4-year member of the Coalition.
    Some musicians have even taken on a new instrument for the sake of the group.
    "Kovarna came to me saying that I had the potential to be a good bass player," said Parker Gee, a 2-year member who plays flute in the concert band, guitar in the pep band, and bass in the jazz band. "He thought I would be a good fit, and the challenge and the desire to play another instrument other than my flute caused me to join. It brings me great joy inside to play good music, also."
    A major part of jazz music which sets it aside from other types of music is the improvisation during the song. Band members take turns adding their own kind of music during their unscripted solos. One who does this well and often is Jasmine "Jazzy" Schaffer. Perhaps her nickname says it all for her. How does she decide what to play when she is the spotlight?
    "I do a lot of listening to how other musicians play it (that particular song)," said Schaffer, a 4-year member of the band. "I then take ideas from them and create my own."
    That improvisation has rewarded the soloists with their own individual awards. Well deserved. No matter if they have received awards or not, their take on the music makes for a treat for all able to hear it.
    "My favorite things from jazz band would be hearing how different everyone sounds with their improv, and seeing everyone having a good time is always great," stated Drew Zahnley, a 3-time jazz band member. "My favorite part of being in concert band would be seeing all the people that have stuck with it and continued to get better and seeing them grow as a player."
    With 8 seniors this year, there is bound to be many, many tears during their last performance of the school year.
    "I'll miss the memories and spending time with my friends and making good music," said Logan Reed who has been a jazz musician for 3 years and their roadie for 1 year. He does have advice for all future jazz musicians and non-musicians. "Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does."
    The championships will be held on April 2nd. Good performance to the Coalition!


Men's Stag Monday

    The Danbury Fire Department is making the final plans for their annual men's stag which will be held on Monday at Dana Hall. Hors d'oerves will be served beginning at 6:00, and the ribeye steak meal will begin at 7:00. The cost for the meal and entertainment is $60.
    All men are invited to attend and support the fire department. Tickets may be purchased from any of the Danbury firefighters or at the door.


Adventures With Lynnie

    Last week I went to the Parade of Bands. I do enjoy this concert, hearing how the bands progress through the years. I was in band in high school and loved it immensely. French horns rule!!!
    This year really threw


Log in to read more

Wanted: Your Trash

    We have been working diligently on the Easter Eggstrazooganza (March 30th 9:00 - 11:00), but we need your trash, well some of it.
    We need lots and lots and lots of egg cartons. We are also in need of some paper bags


Log in to read more

City Council Meeting Moved

    The March Danbury City Council meeting will be moved to March 19th.


Variety Show Thursday

    The 7th & 8th grade Concert Choir will present their annual Variety Show on Thursday, March 7th at 7:00 p.m. at the Maple ValleyAnthon Oto Middle School in Anthon. The concert choir will be performing a variety of music from the


Log in to read more

Forbes, Kovarna to Play with ISU Ensemble in Denison

    The Iowa State University Wind Ensemble will be performing a concert at Denison High School on Monday March 4th at 7:00pm. The Wind Ensemble is the top instrumental ensemble at Iowa State University.


Log in to read more

Monona County Cattlemen's Scholarship

    The Monona County Cattlemen's Association will once again be offering $1000.00 scholarships for high school seniors.
    To be eligible to apply the student's parents/guardians must have been a paid


Log in to read more

Monona County Reads

    Support the Monona County libraries, get involved in this first annual county library program. The book we chose was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. We have many ways to participate and wonderful prizes for drawings.


Log in to read more

City Hall Closed

    Danbury City Hall will be closed from February 27th - March 6th.


The Schultz Perspective

by Senator Jason Schultz
    Earlier this year I reported the current laws regulating the foreign ownership of agricultural land in Iowa. The information I offered came from the Iowa Department of Agriculture, who


Log in to read more

Words by Windschitl

    We just finished the seventh week of the 2024 Legislative session, and we have finally begun floor debate. Last week was the first funnel week, the self-imposed legislative deadline by which all House Files must be voted out of a policy


Log in to read more

The Alons Archive

by Senator Kevin Alons
    The 2024 Iowa legislative session has passed its second funnel, which means lots of bills didn't "make the cut" and won't advance further this year (except for Ways & Means bills or if amended


Log in to read more

People Over Politics

By House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst

Investing in Public Schools

    After weeks of delays, the House finally got to work on a bill to decide how much money to invest in


Log in to read more

Feenstra's Weekly Column

By Randy Feenstra

Leading the charge to stop President Biden's electric-vehicle mandates

    In our free-market economy, Americans should have the freedom to purchase the


Log in to read more

Attorney General Bird Announces Win for Sale of Year-round E15

    DES MOINES—Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird today announced a resounding victory in the State's lawsuit against the Biden Administration's EPA, securing the freedom to sell E15 gasoline


Log in to read more

Danbury Review Online

No account yet? Subscribers to the print edition of The Danbury Review are automatically eligible for a free account. Register and your account will be activated as soon as your information is verified.

If you are not already a subscriber, you may subscribe to the online edition for $10 per year. If you wish to subscribe to the print edition and the online edition, the fee is $20 per year for Woodbury, Monona, Ida, and Crawford counties, and $26 per year for the rest of the United States. Payment can be sent to the following address:

 The Danbury Review
 PO Box 207
 Danbury, IA 51019

Register for your account online and we will activate it as soon as payment is received.


If you like our ad-free site, please consider a donation.