As the murmurs of parents’ anticipation died down and the PAC lights dimmed, music teacher Kent Kurrus waved his baton, signaling to the Jazz II musicians to kick off M-A’s November music concert. This concert took place two days after Thanksgiving break, and was filled with upbeat numbers, jazzy tunes, and music reminiscent of a fairytale.
Jazz II made their way through four songs, beginning with “Jumpin Jack Jive.” They then moved on to a vocal number, with freshman Kealy Bryman singing “Somewhere” and sophomore Lia Lev singing “Beyond the Sea.” Before moving on to the final song, “Mask of the Chili Pepper,” Kurrus told the audience, “One of the things we’re trying to inspire here that’s unique to jazz is improvisation. It’s also the scariest thing for young jazz musicians.”
Bryman looked back on her performance, saying, “I had a lot of fun! I’ve been doing this pretty much all my life so I was pretty comfortable on stage.”
After a smooth performance by Jazz II, Jazz III took the stage. Jazz III’s performance was filled with student improvisation using instruments such as trumpets, guitars, and saxophones.
Kurrus mentioned some of the challenges that came with preparing for the concert “One of the biggest challenges was coming back after the Thanksgiving break. We had a short amount of time to prepare because we had our first concert at the start of October, and so that left us with a little over a month. I wanted to make sure we had enough time to prepare, but I’m also good at pushing hard.” Kurrus said. “The balance is found in pushing hard while not making this unpleasant for them. I like to make sure they are being pushed in a positive way.”
Jazz III sophomore Sacha Deb commented, “I felt a little bit of the stress. There were a lot of rehearsals, and at the beginning it didn’t sound great. But we did get better.”
The efforts of the Jazz III students definitely paid off as they performed “Bacon Suite Blues,” a standout rendition by senior Ryann Barnes of “Cry Me A River,” and senior Jackson Bryman’s performance of “Come Fly With Me.” They ended with “Cafe Caliente,” which featured solos by senior Hugo Ingelsson on trumpet and junior Sina Kassayan on alto sax, and was a fun and fast number to end the first half of the show.
After a short intermission with snacks and audience mingling, the concert resumed with the more formal Concert Band. They performed three songs, “Brick Street Encounter,” “Overture to the Marriage of Figaro” (which saxophonist Aimee Vera mentioned was her personal favorite), and “Galop,” an uptempo song which left listeners impressed.
Finally, came the orchestra, hauling beautiful mahogany instruments onstage. They began with “Sleeping Beauty Waltz” from the Sleeping Beauty ballet, which created a fairytale-esque ambience in the PAC. They then transitioned to “Holberg Suite” and closed out the night with “Overture to the Barber of Seville.”
“It came out really well,” said Kurrus. “It was good and I’m proud of them.”
Overall, a well-rounded selection of music and beautiful orchestration proved for a lovely concert.