RANDOLPH, NJ- Wednesday, Feb. 1st marked the 5th Annual Jazz Coffeehouse in the RHS Commons. This event featured the RMS Jazz Band, the Millbrook Quintet, Jazz Ensemble II, and Jazz Ensemble I.
Ethan May, a trumpet player in Jazz Ensemble II said, "I like how Jazz Coffeehouse is a fundraiser for us and also gives people a lot of exposure to the style of jazz music. It exposes people to a style of music they otherwise might not hear.”
The RMS Jazz Band was the first ensemble to take the stage. This ensemble is composed of students from grades six through eight and is conducted by Mrs. Kristen Siebenhuhner. The band played selections such as “Linus and Lucy” by Vince Guaraldi and “Take the A Train” by Larry Neeck.
“The coffee House is a chance to perform in a very comfortable friendly atmosphere,” said RMS Jazz Band conductor Mrs. Siebenhuhner. The students perform in the RHS commons in front of family and friends, and there is also a huge dessert buffet with drinks.
Following the RMS Jazz Band was the Millbrook Quintet, an ensemble made up of five members, and is student directed. The students were Frank Zhang on piano, John Yager on tenor saxophone, Paul Ward on bass, Joey Reccia on trombone, and Billy Xocoy on electric guitar.
Mr. Miller, the conductor of Jazz I, said, "The coffee house has become an annual tradition where the students in the jazz program to showcase their hard work and talent to the community in a more relaxed setting. The students look forward to the event and work hard in rehearsals to perfect their craft. Hearing them legitimately interpret the music of George Gershwin, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie among others is a testament to their work ethic".
After the Millbrook Quintet played, Jazz Ensemble II took the stage. This ensemble consists of students in grades 9-12 and is conducted by Mr. Tom Davidson. Some of the selections they played were “I’ve Got You Under my Skin” by Cole Porter with featured singer Gabby Toledo and “Embraceable You” composed by George Gershwin with lyrics by Ira Gershwin with featured soloists Sabrina Labold on tenor saxophone, John Crane on trumpet, and Grant Wayne on alto saxophone.
Davidson commented, “The jazz coffee house was a great evening of jazz music by our middle school and high school musicians. We're quite thankful for the support that we get each year from the Randolph High School Band Parents Association and from all of the families who provided baked goods for the event.”
The last ensemble to play was Jazz Ensemble I, conducted by Dave Miller. This ensemble is also consisted of high school students. One of the pieces they played were “Benches” by Theonious Monk, which featured soloists Zach Freiheiter, Charlie Aulenbach, and Chris Mantell.
Senior Kat Arenas, musician in Jazz Ensemble I said “The Jazz Coffeehouse is always a fun concert to perform at. I love getting to hear the different bands play and it's really cool how the atmosphere imitates an actual coffeehouse, from the music to the food to the people. This is definitely something I'll miss considering that it was my last coffeehouse and all.”
Miller also commented, “The evening has turned into a night where friends can get together and have a coffee while enjoying live music. The response from the community has been outstanding."
Editor’s Note: Written by Jenna Doran, a TAPinto.net Randolph High School TAP Club reporter.