SPOTSWOOD, NJ - “It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing.” Well, Spotswood High School certainly had swing last night as the 2016 Jazz Band headlined An Evening of Jazz and Such.”
The such was provided by the Spotswood High School Music Club, who under the direction of science teacher Christopher Talish opened the delightful evening of music and song.
Talish explained that the school’s Music Club “allows the students to separate themselves from band and chorus.” The six students who performed displayed a diverse and creative range of musical talents.
Emma Tilley started off the night’s performances singing and playing the keyboard on her rendition of Twenty-One Pilots’ “Glowing Eyes.” The Undefined took the stage next with an original composition titled, “When I was Young.” The lively band was comprised of two members; Andrew Faulkenberry on guitar and vocals along with Anthony Bonacci on drums. Both Faulkenberry and Bonacci also play in the Jazz Band.
Sarah Fisher came next and sang beautifully and played the keyboard on The Script’s “The Man who can’t be Moved,” despite being thrown off a bit by some technical issues. Jade Borges sang a lovely version of Waxahatchee’s “I Think I Love You” while accompanying herself on guitar. Sophomore Devin Ryan closed out the student portion with a unique and well-done number. Ryan played the ukulele and sang “The A Team” by Ed Sheeran. The teen proved to be proficient at the instrument as well as showing vocal prowess.
One final performance by the Music Club featured Talish and Spotswood High School English and Drama teacher, Annie Raczko-Williams singing a pretty duet, titled “The Challengers.” Talish also played the guitar. Before turning over the stage to Band Director Sarah Carino-Koza, Talish encouraged the audience to attend the Music Club’s second concert of the school year on Friday, May 6 after enjoying “a small sample” of the students’ talents.
The night’s musical agenda then moved quickly into a toe-tapping and swinging set of jazz that opened brilliantly with the Bruno Mar’s hit “Uptown Funk” and “Night Train.” Jimmy Forrest originally performed “Night Train” as a rhythm and blues tune in 1952 before it became a jazz hit a decade later.
The band, under the skillful direction of Carino-Koza, performed an eclectic and extremely entertaining funky set of music that featured seven numbers.
Five of the songs highlighted the skills of several students who played solos. Prior to each number, Carino-Koza introduced each song with a brief, interesting history.
Students auditioned to be a part of the 2016 Jazz Band earlier in the school year and rehearse in the evenings twice a week. The musicians that make up the 2016 Spotswood High School Jazz Band include Nick Dimaria, Jason Biss and Stephen Gardner on alto saxophone, Dylan Whitfield and Aaron Roy on tenor saxophone, Greg Videla and Solomon Tyson on baritone saxophone, Kevin Ehresman, Matt Chludzinski, Melanie Miller, Ryan Miller and Ronald Contard on trumpet, Andrew Faulkenberry on trombone and guitar, Michael Pinnella on trombone, Devin Ryan on vibes, piano and percussion pieces, Justin Thompson on bass guitar and Anthony Bonacci, Dan Pinnella and Sean Wesan on drums.
The Jazz Band along with the school’s Concert Band and Honor Wind Ensemble will be traveling to Washington D.C. in April to compete against other North American high school bands at a music festival. Their annual Spring Concert will be held on Thursday, May 12.
A quote from jazz great Louis Armstrong summed up the wonderful evening of music. “Jazz is played from the heart. You can even live by it. Always love it.”