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DHS jazz band plays at giants game

Linda Hiller

Douglas High School has hit the big time again.

Twelve members of the DHS jazz band performed for nearly 47,000 sports fans, as students played the National Anthem before the Los Angeles Dodgers-San Franciso Giants game in San Francisco Saturday.

DHS music director Bill Zabelsky said the kids performed well and even got to see themselves on the huge “Jumbotron” screen in 3-Com Park.

“It was a thrill for the kids and for me, too,” he said. “The people applauded when we were done, so we appreciated that.”

The band was invited to play for the Giants after submitting a tape of this year’s award-winning performance from the Northern Zone Nevada Music Educators Association festival in Fallon, Zabelsky said.

“The father of one of our band members was talking with someone in the Giants organization,” he explained. “I guess they were talking about music and somehow the subject of our jazz band came up, so they asked us to send a tape in, and that’s how we got selected.”

The band, with a few members unavailable and two new members filling in, traveled to San Francisco Friday night and played behind home plate from 12:30-12:50 p.m. before the game.

They were introduced over the loudspeaker as coming from Giants star pitcher, Shawn Estes’ alma mater, Douglas High School.

Estes came to greet the students after their 20-minute performance and signed autographs.

“Shawn was being very gracious to the kids and was in the middle of signing autographs when all of the sudden he said, ‘Hey, you guys have to start the game,’ so he stopped signing and we played the National Anthem,” Zabelsky said.

Rather than a jazz rendition of the anthem, he said they played the John Phillips Sousa version.

Band members attending were: Brad Fitch, Jennifer Neal, Joe Crandall, Sara Whitaker, Anthony Moreno, Jennifer Zabelsky, Dan Warrell, Alex Johnson, Jon Jacobsen, Griff Sahlin, Wayne Archer and James Pendergrass.

Rob Sahlin, the father who initially made the contact with the Giants organization, said he has since heard from his friend in San Francisco that the band received rave reviews. Playing for the Giants will likely become an annual event, Sahlin said.