The Rialto Youth Jazz Orchestra (RYJO) was formed by Dr. Gordon Vernick in June 2011. RYJO consists of one big band and multiple jazz combos. RYJO exposes students to the full spectrum of jazz music and education. The students are selected through audition. Participating students have come from the many counties in the past, including, but not limited to: Fulton, Cobb, Dekalb, Gwinnett, Clayton, and Fayette. Home-schooled students are also encouraged to audition.
Jazz is an American music, and it is important to protect and preserve its important musical and cultural heritage. The best way to do this is to teach young musicians about the art form through performance. Our big band and jazz combos perform music that is historically significant as well as challenging. In rehearsals, RYJO stresses personal responsibility, musicianship, teamwork, and artistic expression.
The students receive outstanding instruction in jazz performance, jazz history, and jazz improvisation from our faculty. Each jazz combo is supervised by one of the jazz faculty from Georgia State University. The groups range from the intermediate level to the advanced level. The combos are often asked to perform in the metro Atlanta area at music venues and senior centers.
Dr. Vernick envisions this select high school group to be a continuation of the middle school jazz program, Rialto Jazz for Kids. The young musicians are treated as professionals, despite their age. Many of the graduating high school students go on to become music majors in college. Former band members currently attend the University of North Texas, New England Conservatory of Music, Georgia State University, The University of Georgia, Kennesaw State University, Florida State University, The Juilliard School, and the Berklee College of Music.
Past performance highlights include: concerts at Georgia State University, featured performances at Café 290, Churchill Grounds (Atlanta’s premier jazz club), the Atlanta Jazz Festival in Piedmont Park (2011, 2013, 2014), the Jazz Education Network Conference (Atlanta 2013), and the Governors Inaugural Reception at Philips Arena in 2011.
DOWNBEAT MAGAZINE STUDENT AWARD WINNERS
For over four decades, the Downbeat Magazine Student Music Awards have been considered the top recognition that jazz students could earn. In 2019, one of our RYJO Jazz Combos won first place for Best Honors High School Small Jazz Group, competing against groups from the most prestigious and highly recognized jazz programs in the country.
HONORS COMBO RECORDS ALBUM
In 2019, the Rialto Honors Combo released an album recording featuring the music of Roy Hargrove with their own arrangements by members of the combos. Members of the RYJO program have gone on to study at some of the top music schools in the country including Julliard, Berklee, Harvard, North Western, University of Miami, Columbia, Manhattan School of Music, The New School, and many others.
The Rialto Youth Jazz Orchestra program awards program tuition scholarships for outstanding musicians. The Rialto Youth Jazz Orchestra and the feeder program Rialto Jazz for Kids Scholarships are provided by the generous support of the State Farm Priority School Program and the Erroll and Elaine Davis Family Foundation.
We supply all music and folders. The students will need to purchase long and short sleeve shirts to wear for all RYJO affiliated performances and events.
Members of the Rialto Youth Jazz Orchestra are expected to attend and be prepared for all rehearsals. However, we understand that life happens, and perfect attendance isn’t always possible. As such, we are enacting the following attendance policy for the year:
Freshman – Juniors: Students are allowed four (4) absences per year. Excuses are not required, but please notify Dr. Vernick, Amy Reid, and your combo instructor beforehand. Please refer to the Handbook for contact information.
Seniors: With the understanding that seniors may have college auditions and trips, senior students are allowed six (6) absences per year. Excuses are not required, but please notify Dr. Vernick, Amy Reid, and your combo instructor beforehand. Please refer to the Handbook for contact information.
Georgia State University hosts a variety of camps, clinics, after-school programs, classes, and activities that bring predominantly non-student minors onto campus, such as this event. The University considers the safety and well-being of these non-student minors while on campus immensely important. Accordingly, this program adheres to the Programs Serving Non-Student Minors Policy operational standards for the activities described, in compliance with the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia Policy 12.9 (“Programs Serving Minors”).
Students will be issued a PantherCard to allow them access to the Jazz Suite in the Rialto Center. Students are responsible for knowing the location of their ID at all times. Contact the Office of Educational Outreach directly for lost IDs. Students needing a replacement ID will be charged a $10 replacement fee.
Members of RYJO are expected to be on time and be prepared for all rehearsals to the best of their ability. In both Big Band and Combos, your fellow members rely on you to be prepared each week in order to improve as a unit. Students who are chronically under-prepared may be moved to a different group or part. Please practice to ensure that this does not occur.
Concert attire applies to all events when the group is billed as part of “Rialto Youth Jazz Orchestra”:
- RYJO Polo (long sleeve in winter, short sleeve in summer)
- Black pants (no shorts)
- Black socks
- Black shoes
Participants will be required to play one improv session, one etude, and be prepared to play 5 major scales.
- From the list of “Suggessted Jazz Compositions,” participants will need to provide a recording of the work (by any artist) and improv a solo with the recording.
- From the “Jazz Etudes” list, participants will need to select their instrument. There are multiple etudes for each instrument; choose one etude to prepare in advance.
Your instrument’s C, F, Bb, G, and D major scales.
Prepare 1 selection with an improvising solo over a recording.
Suggested Jazz Composition List For Auditions:
|So What||Tune Up||Little Sunflower|
|Blue Bossa||Doxy||Maiden Voyage|
|Take the A Train||St. Thomas||Satin Doll|
|Summertime||Four||Song for My Father|
|Autumn Leaves||Ladybird||All the Things|
Prepare the appropriate etude for your instrument.