IKM-Manning’s Tanner McLaws and Hannah Fisher received outstanding soloist honors in the Iowa High School Jazz Championships.
IKM-Manning’s Tanner McLaws and Hannah Fisher received outstanding soloist honors in the Iowa High School Jazz Championships.

April 11, 2018


IKM-Manning may not have brought home a trophy from the Class 1A Iowa High School Jazz Championships last Thursday in Ames, however, the experience may be the first note for even-more-successful seasons in the future, says the band’s director, Ryan Runyon.

IKM-Manning was invited as a wildcard entry to compete in the contest with 14 other bands in the Class 1A enrollment division. In the contest, held at Iowa State University, those bands performed in the preliminary round during the day. Then the top two bands in each of the Championships’ four classes squared off in the evening’s finals.

North Mahaska defeated Central Lyon in the Class 1A finals. Trophies are awarded to the top eight bands in each class, and Class 1A’s other trophy bands were Tri Center, third place; Hudson, fourth; Fort Dodge St. Edmond, fifth; Griswold, sixth; Lisbon, seventh; and Woodbury Central, eighth.

Although IKM-Manning didn’t place in the top eight, Runyan, who’s in his first year leading the school’s band program, said, “Our scores were among some of the highest we received this year, so we were probably very close to placing. Considering the caliber of bands in Class 1A, we are very honored to have performed and scored so well.”

Runyan said he was encouraged by the contest judges’ many positive comments about the IKM-Manning band.

“In general, they liked many of the ideas and colors we incorporated with our music.” he said. “They also very complimentary of our soloists and overall quality of our band.”

He added, “The biggest things we had to work on were tuning and some timing things in our music. We knew these things to be problems going into the competition and definitely improved on them. We will have to put more emphasis on them next year.”

IKM-Manning received a wildcard invitation on the strength of second-place awards this season at both the Bluffs Jazz Festival at Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs and the Jim Coffin Jazz Festival in Woodward.

The band is made up the following performers:

Alto Sax — Hanna Mullen, junior, and Liam Carter, freshman.

Tenor Sax — Miranda Lingle, sophomore, and Abby Lingle, junior.

Baritone Sax — Dustin Johnson, sophomore, and Ethan Smith, freshman.

Trumpet — Tanner McLaws, senior; Payton Sporrer, senior; Brianna Sander, junior; Joey Greazel, junior; and Austyn Sweeney, freshman.

Trombone — Nathan Blankman, junior; Conner Richards, freshman; Jackie Lingle, senior; and Tanner Spoelstra, freshman.

Piano — Hannah Fisher, senior.

Vibes — Grace Daiker, junior.

Bass — Carter Sorensen, sophomore.

Trap Set — Dylan Spies, junior.

Auxiliary Percussion — Carter Irlmeier, senior.

At the State Championships, Fisher, on piano, and McLaws, on trumpet, received outstanding-soloist honors.

Runyan is upbeat that next year’s band will grow from this season’s experience.

“Next year’s band is almost identical to this year’s band,” he said. “We are losing some very strong seniors and will need to work to fill their spots. However, I am confident we will have the players to do it. The ones remaining got a taste of what the Jazz Championships are about and are hoping to work hard to make it again.”

This was the fourth time IKM-Manning has qualified for the Jazz Championships. Under longtime director Don Struve, who retired last year, IKM-Manning placed fourth in both 2008 and 2010 and seventh in 2011.