A Pella High School jazz drummer recently earned national recognition.

Isaac Piersma, a sophomore in the Pella Jazz I ensemble, auditioned for and was selected as the first alternate in the Jazz Band of America. Piersma tells KRLS News it was an honor to be judged and appreciated the opportunity to receive a critical look at his own work in order to become a better musician.

“What I’m most excited for is the critique, because that’s something where I get to have somebody sit down and talk to me about what what they like and didn’t like,” he says. “Although this is a great honor and I’m happy with it, it’s also nice to get that feedback and keep improving.”

Piersma says he enjoys performing jazz, as it allows him to better express himself through improvisation and connection with fellow performers.

“Jazz is kind of a different type of music than most–to me at least, and it’s a way to express myself in a way that people can kind of understand what’s going on in my brain,” he says. “It’s a way for me — not only with drums, but with music and the style, it gives me a way to show that.”

“Also in the drummer’s spot, getting to lead the band into set ups with big hits and leading musical lines, it gives me a lot to think about, it gives me a lot to work with, and it’s a way to express myself, and jazz just does that so well.”

He will find out in January if he will perform with the band at the festival in March. Piersma says he and fellow classmates were looking for opportunities for a critical look at their work, and this was one of many auditions they considered and ultimately participated in.

Pella’s award winning Jazz Ensembles have shifted focus to the Marching Dutch ahead of their upcoming winter break Citrus Bowl trip, and return to the jazz performance circuit when school resumes in January.