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Jazz band gets invite to perform at famous Detroit jazz club

Jazz BandIt is a club that has seen all of the great jazz greats - Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, and hundreds of others.

Now, Aretha’s Jazz Cafe at Music Hall, can add to that list the Stevenson High School Jazz Band.

The 22-member band took the stage on Tuesday night, warming up for a nationally renowned Scott Gwinnell Jazz Orchestra at a sold-out performance.

“A lot of big people have played there, and it was really cool to be in the same room where there have been so many great musicians – the same stage and everything,” said junior Taylor Mauldin.

The band performed seven songs in their set, including Crystal Science, All of Me and All I want is Christmas is You.

“This is an experience that musicians in high school don’t get to have that often,” Stevenson band teacher Michael Sekich said.

He said that as important to the concert has been the preparation that goes into learning their set, particularly for a band that started this year with about 80 percent of its members being new to the jazz band.

One of the new players is keyboardist and vocalist senior Martyna Gogolkiewicz, who moved from Poland in August.

“I have studied music since I was four, and I needed to get into the natural environment again,” she said. “It is amazing to have so many opportunities to get on stage and perform again.”

The experience was just as amazing for seasoned jazz band members, such as senior Dillon Warner.

“We can’t take it for granted,” Warner said. “We are a jazz band in Sterling Heights and we get to play in a Detroit Jazz club. That is something really special.”