Photo of a student performing during the 2014 SteelStacks High School Jazz Band Showcase. Image is by David Happel

SteelStacks will sound pretty smooth as the music of the region’s high school jazz bands fills the air during the fifth-annual SteelStacks High School Jazz Band Showcase presented by King, Spry, Herman, Freund & Faul, LLC, set for Feb. 14-March 20 at the ArtsQuest Center’s Musikfest Café in Bethlehem. Tickets for the event’s preliminary rounds are $6 and on sale now at and 610-332-3378.

The jazz band showcase features scholastic jazz groups from Pennsylvania and New Jersey performing in front of a live audience and judging panel of music educators. The event’s preliminaries will take place Feb. 14, noon, and Feb. 21, noon and 4 p.m., with the top six groups, as determined by the judges, advancing to the finals March 20, 4 p.m.

“We’re thrilled to have the SteelStacks High School Jazz Band Showcase return for its fifth year,” says ArtsQuest Sr. Vice President of Programming Patrick Brogan. ”ArtsQuest and partners KingSpry and the Moravian College Jazz Studies Program have watched the quality of these talented student musicians rise each year, something that’s very important when you consider many academic programs have had to reduce their performance opportunities for young people in recent years.

“We’re honored to showcase these high school students on the Musikfest Café stage as they continue to learn and grow not just in the discipline of jazz, but also in their music studies and personal growth. With the help of our partners, we hope to see the musicianship of our region’s youth continue to climb.”

The 2016 jazz band showcase will be the largest in the event’s history, with 16 bands set to take the stage during the three preliminaries including newcomers Wilson Area High School, Emmaus High School and Delaware Valley High School. The event’s top three finalists will all earn the chance to open for artists at the RiverJazz jazz series, set for April into May 2016.

The jazz band showcase schedule is as follows:

Feb. 14, 12 p.m.:
Belvidere High School
Kutztown High School
North Penn High School
Wilson Area High School

Feb. 21, 12 p.m.:
Brandywine Heights High School
Easton High School
Freedom High School
Phillipsburg High School
Pocono Mountain East High School
Warren Hills High School

Feb. 21, 4 p.m.:
Delaware Valley High School
Emmaus High School
Joe’s Jazz Café (Quakertown High School)
Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts
Saucon Valley High School
Quakertown High School

Finals: March 20, 4 p.m.

“Music and arts education is such an important part of a school district’s programming,” says KingSpry Education Chair John Freund. “Not only are programs like the jazz showcase a source of great pride for the schools as a whole, music plays a large role in the development of the individual. We wish all of the participants well in this competition, and we look forward to enjoying some wonderful music over the next few weeks.”

The SteelStacks High School Jazz Band Showcase is a music-in-education program of ArtsQuest and the Moravian College Music Department’s Jazz Studies Program and is made possible thanks in part to King, Spry, Herman, Freund & Faul, LLC, in association with 69-WFMZ-TV and Greenleaf Productions. For more information, please visit or call 610-332-3378.