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Grammy winner Christopher McBride got his start at Homewood-Flossmoor High School

Local saxophonist wins Grammy for jazz album
Local saxophonist wins Grammy for jazz album 02:58

FLOSSMOOR, Ill. (CBS) -- From winning the 2002 battle of the bands in high school to winning a Grammy, a Homewood-Flossmoor High School alumnus is creating a stir in the south suburbs.

The Grammy winner, Christopher McBride, was still in Los Angeles celebrating Monday. But CBS 2's Shardaa Gray caught up with him over Zoom and reconnected him with a mentor who helped pave the way to his success. Gray asked McBride how it felt to be a Grammy winner.

"Man, it's surreal," he said. "I was completely caught off guard at the ceremony - screaming obscenities at my poor mother because I was so shocked."

McBride is a saxophone artist who has been a world touring musician since 2007. He performed on "Generation Gap Orchestra" by Steven Feike, Bjon Watson & Generation Gap Jazz Orchestra -- an album that was nominated in the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album category.

"To be one of those groups nominated is already incredible, but to actually win it was surreal," McBride said. "It was completely unexpected."

In what is now a newly renovated fine arts center at Homewood-Flossmoor, McBride spent hours perfecting his craft during his high school years from 1998 to 2002.

McBride was the alto saxophone player in the symphonic band at Homewood-Flossmoor.

William Jastrow is retired, but he was McBride's music teacher. He provided a space after school at the high school for McBride to expand his jazz band.

"They weren't just garage-banding it. They weren't just jamming to make noise," Jastrow said. "It was very apparent quickly that they were trying to develop their style."

McBride told us he hasn't talked to Jastrow in years. So we connected the two. 

"Maestro!" McBride said to Jastrow.

"Oh thank you!" Jastrow said. "It's so good to see you - and congratulations again!"

"Thank you," McBride said. "I appreciate you and it's great to see you."

The two caught up on Zoom, reminiscing on high school years – including a tour to London when McBride was a freshman.

Homewood-Flossmoor Community High School District 233 Supt. Scott Wakeley says the school is one of few public high schools in the country that is an EGOT - students have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, or Tony.

"It's just a commitment that our board of education and this community has made to all aspects to ensure that our students not only are academically prepared, but the arts, athletics; everything that comes into making a well-rounded person," Wakeley said.

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