WEST ORANGE, NJ - Students from grades 6-12 entertained a packed house at Liberty Middle School at the West Orange School District's 13th annual Evening of Jazz Concert on Feb. 19. Music students from Edison, Roosevelt and Liberty Middle Schools, along with Jazz One and Jazz Two bands from West Orange High School, once again showed the talent that has garnered awards for the West Orange Public Schools music programs.
The Edison Central Sixth Jazz Band, under the direction of music teacher Joe Romano, opened the program with "Jammin With Charlie." Sixth grade is the first opportunity students have to participate in extracurricular jazz programs.
Highlights of each group's performance included solos by individual musicians. Jazz bands include flute, trumpet, piano, saxophone, guitar, bass, upright bass, drums, trombone, violin, cello, and clarinet in varying combinations.
The Roosevelt Roughrider Middle School Jazz Band, directed by music teacher Roger Bryson, followed with "Footprints" and "Uncle Milo's Side Show". Dave Rimelis, director of the Liberty Middle School Jazz Band, led the students in energetic renditions of "Hot, Hot, Hot" and "Higher Ground".
The West Orange High School Jazz II band under the direction of Lisa Swannick, performed "Buffalo Wings," "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "Soul Man."
Lew Kelly, director of Jazz Band I, led the Jazz I Band in "Splanky." The surprise of the evening was the introduction of premier Jazz Saxophonist Don Braden, who performed "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," "Winelight," and "What is Hip" with the band.
Next up in the ongoing musical events in the West Orange School District is the Faculty Scholarship Concert on Feb. 25.