Voltage Jazz Choir’s Tremendous Success

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Rob Williams

Voltage Jazz Choir performing at JEN conference in Dallas, Texas.

The Liberty Jazz Choir team, Voltage, was the only high school team in the country to be invited to compete at the National Jazz Education Convention. The group composed of sixteen students, along with their Director, Rob Williams, recently traveled to Dallas, Texas to perform at JEN. In addition to this new accomplishment, Voltage has earned Division I ratings, and has been invited to perform at the Iowa Vocal Jazz Championships every year since the school opened.

“I would like to personally congratulate the director of the Voltage vocal jazz ensemble, Mr. Robert Williams, as well as his colleague, Co-Director of Choral Activities at Liberty High School; Mrs. Caitlin Brannaman, for their leadership as stewards of the arts in our school community. I would also like to extend my most sincere congratulations to the student members of Voltage on this incredibly momentous achievement- you have made us all very proud,” said Justin Colbert, Liberty High Principal. 

Mr. Williams has been the director of Voltage since Liberty opened in 2017. Voltage has had many achievements over the years, but this year Mr. Williams went above and beyond to help his students be invited to JEN. 

Our director, Mr. Williams, doesn’t get enough credit for all that he’s done for us. He has given us so many opportunities and has put so much into the program! We really couldn’t be where we are without him. Mr. Williams is such an amazing, supportive, and loving teacher who believes in us so much”

— Jenna Uden

“Our director, Mr. Williams, doesn’t get enough credit for all that he’s done for us. He has given us so many opportunities and has put so much into the program! We really couldn’t be where we are without him. Mr. Williams is such an amazing, supportive, and loving teacher who believes in us so much,” exclaimed Jenna Uden, Senior.

The Voltage Jazz choir submitted a video to the JEN, the Jazz Educational Network, and they were invited to perform as a ‘choral jazz choir’ at a national jazz conference. 

“I’m so proud of everything we’ve accomplished this year. Not only were we the only high school out of the country to be accepted into JEN, we also learned an 8 song set within 5 months, and have an amazing horn line,” Uden said. 

Uden has been a member of Voltage since her freshman year. She credits much of their success as a group to their shared passion for music, and dedication to the program. 

“My favorite part about being in Voltage is the bond we’ve created as a group. We all know each other so well and because of that it’s so much easier to have fun while making music, and doing something we’re all passionate about,” stated Uden. “We practice around 5 hours per week, but leading up to JEN we put in a lot of individual practice and added in rehearsals during winter break.”

Voltage Jazz Choir practicing before they perform at JEN conference. (Rob Williams)

The group was able to perform with many other talented groups and musicians. 

“We performed at the Hyatt Hotel in Dallas,” said Ashley Gallagher, Senior. “There were a bunch of famous jazz people there, it was a really big deal because some of those musicians had a part in creating [some of] the songs we were performing. The conference was only one day but we made a trip out of it.”

Uden shared her final thoughts the JEN conference experience. 

“The National Jazz Education Convention was such an amazing experience. Getting to perform was so fulfilling, and everyone there was so talented and supportive,” Uden said. “My favorite thing about attending the National Jazz Education Convention was definitely performing. It brings me so much joy to make music with incredible people, and I absolutely love every single song of ours. The audience was so supportive and had so many uplifting things to tell us.”