For the Jazz Combo, Schumacher ups the ante even further. Independence and accountability are emphasized. The musicians create their own set lists and learn the art of audience interaction. The best performances are the ones that become a “two-way street of communication; a collective conversation,” Schumacher says. Combo members must excel individually but also learn to cooperate and feed off what is handed them, musically speaking.
To perform at the highest level, Schumacher believes his combo must form a cohesive bond, both on and off stage. “I stress group camaraderie outside of ensemble to develop strong musical communication within the ensemble,” he explains.
Pentucket High School Principal Jonathon Seymour maintains that Schumacher’s track record of success in jazz competitions is a testimony to his “dedication to developing excellence.” He marvels at Schumacher’s ability to consistently train high quality musicians to take up the mantel once current combo members graduate.
Superintendent Jeff Mulqueen describes Pentucket’s Jazz Combo as “an exemplar” for the world-class educational opportunities the district hopes to provide every student.
“Pentucket is fortunate to have remarkable educators, like David Schumacher, to ensure every student reaches his or her dreams,” he said.
To hear a recording of the Pentucket Jazz Combo’s award winning set, visit http://festival.berkleejazz.org/html5/recordings.php?event=2013hsjf.