All that jazz: CHS student musician achieves All-State honor

Cullman High School percussionist Jacob Dye poses for a photo at the school Tuesday afternoon. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman High School sophomore percussionist Jacob Dye made history recently. Dye was selected to be a part of the Alabama Bandmasters Association’s 2020 Alabama All-State Silver Jazz Band. While CHS has had student musicians make All-State Band, Dye is only the second from the school to make an All-State Jazz Band. He was one of only six percussionists selected out of approximately 300 who auditioned.

The All-State Jazz Bands include Gold, Silver and Bronze Bands.

“Each band had about 30 people and there were three bands. There was bronze, silver and gold,” said Dye. “I made auxiliary percussion, but I did play trap set on one song.”

Dye said he enjoyed the music the band performed. He played trap set on a Duke Ellington tune called “Things Ain’t What They Used to Be.”

The audition process was unique.

“There was a list of styles you had to play,” said Dye. “There was mid-tempo jazz, up-tempo jazz, ballads with brushes, funk, bossa nova, samba and stuff like that. The audition process wasn’t normal. It wasn’t like you would go somewhere and audition in front of judges. You had to record your pieces in an MP3 and then a group of judges would review those. You couldn’t talk or anything.”

Dye traveled to Montgomery last week and began rehearsals Thursday. The band practiced all day Friday and performed Saturday morning.

“It was fun,” he smiled. “I am going to try for drum set next year and I hope I get it.”

“We are proud of him for receiving this high honor!” said a statement from the Cullman Bearcat Band.

Dye is the son of Clayton Dye and Jennifer Dye. He and the rest of the Cullman High School Jazz Band will perform for the community at the Big Band Dance at Stone Bridge Farms Feb. 7.

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Christy Perry