February 7, 2024

Backstage at the Egyptian: DHS Jazz Ensemble Director, Steve Lundin

Our Marketing Intern, Pamela, had a chance to talk with Steve Lundin, band director at DeKalb High School, about our upcoming event, Jazz at the Egyptian. 

PAM: What does it mean to you to bring jazz music to the community?
STEVE: Jazz is such an amazing art form. It’s so collaborative and full of limitless
potential for the imagination. I really believe its lessons are just incredibly
important for society, so getting to teach young people about it, and then to bring
that to our community is really one of the best parts of my job.

P: Could you give a quick overview of your program and who can become involved?
S: The DHS Jazz Ensemble is one of 7 band classes offered at DHS. The students in
our band audition for spots each spring. We also have a second jazz band, 2
concert bands, a percussion ensemble, a steel band, a pep band and a marching
band. The Jazz Ensemble performing at this event represents some of the best
that our program has to showcase.

P: What does it mean for you to present your 7th annual event at the Egyptian Theatre?
S: Jazz at the Egyptian has really grown into something very special for our students
and community. Prior to this event we’d had very few opportunities to perform
with local groups outside of our school community. There is a football game in
the fall where both marching bands perform and our community loves that, so we
were really confident that by offering something that allowed us to focus on the
bands and widen our net for collaborators we’d be creating something special.
Now hosting our 7th event, it really seems that the vision has come to fruition.

P: What does it mean to collaborate with other jazz ensembles in the community?
S: The kids really enjoy getting to hear the other jazz groups and just getting to meet
them and talk to them. It really opens their eyes to the wonderful people that
participate in the greater jazz community.

P: What projects have your ensemble been working on?
S: The Jazz Ensemble just finished a recording project for the Essentially Ellington
High School Band Competition. We’ll be playing a lot of the music we worked on
for that project. We played that same music recently at NIU’s Jazz Day where we
got to work with the NIU faculty a little bit to help us really sound our best for
this event.

P: What is one thing you would like your kids to take away from your program?
S: I often think of the high school band experience in terms of memories. The
memory of a performance on a stage like this can be really powerful. The way
you feel when you’re up there and the lights are on you and you step out and just
do your thing can really transform kids into the adult leaders of the future that
world really needs.

P: What should the audience look forward to for this year’s Jazz at the Egyptian?
S: I just hope folks come ready to have a good time and that we’re able to send them
home happy.