Senior becomes First Westside Student Selected for All-National Jazz Band


Photo courtesy of Westside Community Schools

Senior Ashleigh Madsen poses with her trumpet.

Senior Ashleigh Madsen recently became the first Westside student to be selected for the All-National Jazz Band. This group consists of 19 musicians, with only 5 playing the trumpet, Madsen being one of them. Madsen said that the tryout process began last April. 

“I sent in a video audition of me doing two etudes and two songs,” Madsen said. “A month and a half later they tell you if you made it or not.”

Madsen has been a part of the All-State Jazz Band since she was a freshman. Madsen said that she felt obligated to try out for All-National Jazz Band since this would be her last year to tryout. 

“I really wasn’t expecting it,” Madsen said. “It was more just to challenge myself musically and to experience another audition process.”

Band Director Thomas Krueger has been teaching Madsen since she was a freshman. Krueger said that he was very supportive of Madsen trying out. 

“I tried to push her to audition; you never know what’s gonna happen,” Krueger said. “I just encouraged her, I knew she was a good enough player and that she had the potential to get into groups like this.”

Madsen said Krueger has had a huge impact on her. 

“[Krueger] is constantly pushing me,” Madsen said. “He is also a very good trumpet player himself.”

Despite Madsen’s credit towards Krueger, he does not take any credit himself. 

“Ashleigh is easily one of the most self-motivated students I’ve had,” Krueger said. “If she sets her mind to something, she will do whatever she can to accomplish it.”

Madsen said her other inspirations include her dad, who was a jazz director at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and her friends who made All-National Concert Band. 

“Seeing my friends who are better than me be able to do these types of things makes me think ‘Ok, how can I work to achieve those goals?’” Madsen said.

Krueger said that he is confident Madsen will learn great things from this experience.

“It will open up a lot of opportunities,” Krueger said. “She will be able to make connections with people [and] directors from all over the country.”

Madsen said the greatest thing that she has gotten out of this experience is more self-confidence. 

“If I can do this,” Madsen said. “It is a good motivator to see how I can push myself and see where I can get to in my future.”

Madsen will head to Orlando, Florida, this November to practice and perform with the rest of the All-National Jazz Band.