Jazzing along with Conard's very own Jazz Band!
By: Saksham Tiwari
Conard's very own jazz band recently received an invitation to visit and play at the musical clinic at Newton South High School in Massachusetts. While they were there, they got the opportunity to get musically involved with three other great schools, namely Boston Latin High School, Hall High School, and of course Newton South High School itself. I got the chance to interview some of these amazing Conard musicians and get their thoughts on this trip.
On Saturday, December 10th, at half past six in the morning, our band gathered together inside the school, with their bright eyes and shining faces, ready to seize the day. They boarded the bus and left for the two-hour trip to Newton South High School at a quarter to seven. Once there, they got the chance to meet not only the other schools’ jazz bands but also guest musician Alexa Tarantino.
Alexa Tarantino is an award-winning saxophone and woodwind artist, composer, and mentor who was born and raised in West Hartford, Connecticut, and attended Hall High School as a teenager. So, of course, everyone was really hyped to see her. One student comments "We were very excited when we realized who the guest was. She really inspired us to get involved in what we love!”
The morning activities mostly consisted of clinics with Tarantino along with the other bands. "We enjoyed playing with the other bands," said one of the students. "After that, we had lunch. The food was great. We had pizza, salad, and pasta. There was salmon, which was so delicious!” Lunch was followed by improvisation classes and then sectionals for each instrument. The bands even got to watch a performance by Tarantino herself, who demonstrated how to do an improvised jazz solo. And after a long day of musical bonding, the day finally came to an end, exceeding the required amount of critiques and compliments.
The day turned out to be pretty productive, creating a memorable experience for the Conard Jazz Band. One of the bandmates remarked that the field trip exposed them to various new experiences and a diverse jazz environment: “The other bands were really good. We got involved in some really positive interactions and constructive learning about jazz. We enjoyed all the performances and even made some new friends. One of the trombone players was really funny. And the improv was awesome!" Even though the long ride on the bus on a hot day was a bit exhausting and everyone was tired by the time they came back to Conard, the band seemed to have a pleasant time.