Quinn Dymalski named sole baritone saxophonist in Allstate Jazz Ensemble
Park City High School Junior Quinn Dymalski was pleasantly surprised to hear he was accepted into the Utah Allstate Jazz Ensemble.
Then he found out that he was the only baritone saxophone player from the whole state in the band.
"I was really surprised, actually," said Dymalski, 16, during an interview with The Park Record. "I had to submit a video audition and whenever you video yourself playing an instrument, it never turns out the way you think you sounded when you’re playing the song."
Dymalski submitted the video in early December and got the call shortly after Christmas.
"The Allstate Jazz Band is comprised of musicians from all over Utah," he said. "There are 18 students selected for the band."
The ensemble was the featured group to perform at the Utah Music Educators Association Mid-Winter Conference that was held in St. George Feb. 6 through Feb. 7.
"The conference is, basically, when all the music educators from around the state come together and share their experiences and make each other better teachers, I guess," Dymalski explained.
The saxophonist traveled to The Dixie Center and met up with the other musicians in the band.
"Generally, you don’t know the other musicians, but since I’ve been in All State bands and other groups, I knew many of the other kids," he said.
Once the musicians met in St. George, they rehearsed for three days straight with hour lunches.
"One Friday, we rehearsed from 8 o’clock in the morning until 9 o’clock at night with two breaks," Dymalski said. "It was pretty intense. I had to use a lot of ChapStick because my lips hurt."
The conference and rehearsals ran Thursday, Friday and Saturday, culminating with a performance Saturday afternoon.
"We performed for an hour and a half and the music was arranged by Dennis Mackrell, who was the guest artist and director for the band this year," Dymalski said. "He’s a jazz drummer from New York and was in the Dizzy Gillespie All Star Big Band."
Other artists the award-winning Mackrell has performed with include Monty Alexander, Tony Bennett, Quincy Jones, Hank Jones, Sir George Shearing and the Count Basie Orchestra.
"He was the coolest director ever," Dymalski said. "He was with us the whole time we rehearsed and was really chill about everything."
The young saxophonist enjoyed working with Mackrell.
"He wasn’t like one of these strict directors who would smack everything into you," Dymalski laughed. "He was laid back and super nice."
Another thing that struck Dymalski was Mackrell’s wit and breadth of musical knowledge.
"He gave us that saying ‘If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound?’ and then followed it up with, ‘If you play a lick in a solo that is so hip and no one understands it, is it still hip?’
"To meet a guy like him was amazing," he said. "He is at the top of the jazz industry and knows what was going on."
In addition to the performances, the musicians in the Utah Allstate Jazz Ensemble were able to browse through the vendor area.
"There is a whole different section of the conference where companies that make musical instruments set up demonstration booths," Dymalski said. "I had the opportunity to go around and test out different saxophones and flutes."
Dymalski has played the saxophone since the sixth grade.
"Whenever I play music in general, it gives me this unexplainable feeling that’s better than any other feeling," he said. "I think it comes from the beauty of what’s coming out in the emotion of the music. That’s the reason why I play music."
Dymalski started his saxophone training with Lois Kannwischer, who passed away in 2013.
"I don’t have a teacher right now, but my music director, who is a very good director and mentor, is Chris Taylor [the director of Park City High School Bands]," Dymalski said.
Although he’s been honored to perform with the Utah Allstate Jazz Ensemble and other groups, Dymalski doesn’t want to play music for a career.
"I plan to keep music with me throughout my life, but I’m not interested in pursuing it in school," he said. "The reason is because if I did that, music would stop being a hobby, which will make it less fun, in my opinion."