If you routinely come to school a tad bit early, there’s a good chance you heard the dulcet tones of your local CHS Jazz Ensemble emanating from the Old Cafeteria a few weeks ago. This, you will hopefully be glad to know, marks only the beginning of the first CHS school year in which Jazz Band performances are scheduled for every single month.
BY ALEC BELLOTTI
If you routinely come to school a tad bit early, there’s a good chance you heard the dulcet tones of your local CHS Jazz Ensemble emanating from the Old Cafeteria a few weeks ago. This, you will hopefully be glad to know, marks only the beginning of the first CHS school year in which Jazz Band performances are scheduled for every single month. Led by the fearless leader and Band Director, Mr. William Smith, the Jazz Ensemble meets Mondays through Thursdays before school in order to adequately prepare for these and other school events, including Varsity Review and the Holiday Concert in the near future.
Last year was the first to feature “Morning Jazz”. “[This] was, in my tenure, the earliest we’ve ever performed in Jazz Ensemble” said Mr. Smith. One noticeable change this year is the switch from weekly to monthly performances. “Because of repeating literature, that’s the bottom line” notes Smith. “We need at least a month to get new material down.”
While the reception from students is generally positive, the unanimous favorite for each of these performances is always the closing pieces that feature one or more vocalists. The first singer to join the Jazz Band this year was choral student and Junior Devlin Cook-Hines, who rocked the tune “Knock on Wood” with the band.
On the subject of material performed, Senior and Baritone Saxophone section leader Jon Mullen commented, “There’s a lot of catchy licks, but they’re all mostly repetitive. Know ‘em once, you know ‘em for the whole song. [But] once Devlin started singing, people started paying attention..
Many CHS students enjoy the diversity this program has to offer. Senior Shyanne Allen said: “I enjoyed coming to school hearing music.” While most students only arrived for the end of the performance, their impression was a lasting one. “I wanted an encore,” said Freshman Richard Losasso. “I wanted more than one song.” Senior Nicole Breindel notes that “everyone in the audience was keeping the beat and was very happy.”
While Morning Jazz has a bountiful takeaway as a source of entertainment, it’s also invaluable to the students involved. Senior guitarist, and general jazz heartthrob, Alec Bellotti (me!) said, “I remember my first live gig being in the auditorium, with dim lights and three digit temperature readings, which was very intimidating. I think that these performances are a good way to ‘break in’ the new musicians in a low-pressure environment before our big shows.”
In order to maximize performance time, the Jazz Band begins playing around 6:45 (AM) for these events, often before any students have shown up at all, and continues playing until the first bell at 7:10. Mr. Smith has announced that at least five faculty members will be involved in the coming months, so stay tuned!