Music was in the air Saturday as 19 area jazz bands gathered for the North Central Iowa Bandmasters Jazz Festival in Webster City.
One by one, each band took to the Prem Sahai Auditorium stage to perform three selections for the judges, John Gosnell, Ankeny; Dan Stecker, Pleasant Hill; and Steve Britt, Des Moines. Clinicians Larry Green, of St. Joseph, Mo., and Joel Poppen, of Ankeny, were also in attendance.
"This is our district festival," said Roger Steig, Webster City, the jazz chair for the NCIBMA district. "Basically, the district covers Hamilton County north to the border, and Butler County over to Algona."
Steig said there were an average of 25 musicians in each band.
"The judges commented that the bands all sounded really good," he said. Steig noted that this competition was a kickoff for the jazz band season because the schools have just finished with marching band performances.
"Jazz band season runs from about now through March," he said. "Everybody's still kind of figuring out tunes and what to play."
Steig actually wore two hats during the festival - organizing the event along with getting his own jazz band ready for the event.
"It's a lot of undertaking ahead of time, but with the help of parents and students, once the day got started, it kind of runs itself," he said.
Southeast Webster-Grand took home top honors in the 1A category, while South Central Calhoun claimed first place in the 2A division. Garner-Hayfield-Ventura won first in the 3A division and Fort Dodge Senior High School claimed the 4A prize.