REVIEW: Final Band Concert of the Year

Allissah Jerome

The Jazz and Concert Band performed in their final concert of the year on Tuesday, April 25. Both bands did not disappoint with their final concert.

What makes Jazz Band concerts so unique is the number of featured soloist that perform. By the time the Jazz Band finished its last piece, almost every member had performed at least one solo. It’s incredible. Each soloist writes their own solo with little to no prearranged help from the writer of the piece. This solos make each Jazz Band concert a once in a lifetime event because as no one will replicate the same solo again. If you haven’t made it to a Jazz Band concert, add that to your bucket list for next year! They are an opportunity you don’t want to miss.

The evening opened up with Jazz Band performing a piece entitled Watermelon Man. This piece, written by Herbie Hancock, was smooth and moving. The following piece, This One’s for Snoops, was not talking about Snoop Dog or Snoopy, but an unknown individual. This piece had a more laid back jazz feel to it. Stompin’ at the Savoy was next. This song was unique because it featured not only Dr. Eric Hagmann on the piano, but also Nathaniel Johnson on the bass guitar. A bass guitar solo is really unusual, but Johnson’s solo was absolutely wonderful and fit the piece beautifully. The next piece, entitled Misty is one of the most recognized jazz ballads of all time and was performed absolutely beautifully. The featured saxophone and trumpet solos really made this piece stand out because they were so smooth and wonderful to listen to.

Following Misty was I’m Beginning to See the Light. You may have listened to this by Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington. Director Michael Buck went out of his way to impress audience members with this number. Joining the Jazz Band for this piece was vocalist, Katie Swenson. Swenson sang beautifully along with the Jazz Band for this piece.

Next up was Blue Bossa and Caravan. Caravan was an advanced arrangement and was the perfect way to close out the Jazz Band’s performance. This was my favorite piece from the Jazz Band as it was moving and felt almost dancy.

After a brief intermission, the Concert Band took the stage. The Concert Band opened up with an English Folk Song Suite featuring two march’s and an intermezzo. This first pieces was fun and contained snippets of familiar tunes which were fun to listen for.

The next piece was a Hungarian piece entitled Puszta – Four Gypsy Dances. This piece had two parts, Tranquillo and Andante Moderato. Andante Moderato was one of my favorite pieces of the evening. It was beautiful, moving, and accelerating at times all which kept me at the edge of my seat.

The following piece, Three London Miniatures, contained three fun little pieces entitled Westminster Abbey, For England’s Rose, and Kensington March which portrayed different aspects of London.

Czardas was up next. This piece was another one of my favorites of the evening because it had a wonderful dancing and moving tone. This piece featured Dr. Jeremy Craycraft on the Marimba. If you have never seen Craycraft perform before, add that to your bucket list as well. Not only was the marimba feature beautiful, but the movement of Craycraft’s hands across the instrument was mesmerizing.

The Concert Band amazed audience members with the next piece, Star-Crossed. For this number, the Concert Band was acting as the background music for a movie that was projected on a screen behind the band. The storyline to the movie involved a man and a woman who were falling for one another, but little did they know they were each other’s arch enemies. While the man, the villain, was robbing a museum, the woman superhero went to save the day. One thing lead to another, and eventually they discovered each other’s secret identities and fell out of love. When the villain had a change of heart and became a good guy, they fell back in love and worked together to fight crime. As the story heated up and progressed, so did the Concert Band. The Concert Band really told the story as the video was playing. They were amazing.

Finally, the evening rounded out with Alleluia! Laudamus Te. This piece was powerful and seemed to be constantly building. It was the perfect piece to end the evening.

Overall, this final concert was wonderful to listen to. It was evident that the hard work of both the Jazz Band and the Concert Band paid off. Conductor Michael Buck really does some unique things with his groups and it will be interesting to see where he takes them in the future.