CHS Jazz Band impresses 5th graders

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Carbon School District Press Release

On March 16, jazz band Carbon High visited four of Carbon County’s five elementary schools. The purpose of the visit was twofold. The first was entertainment and practice for the jazz band, which heads to the Alta High School State Competition on Friday.

The second objective of the visits was to present the fif of each schooland grade students to the group and how awesome it can be. Carbon High Band manager Adam Cunningham informed the students that sixth grade is the best time to start a career in a band. He told them that it takes a lot of practice, dedication and hard work to succeed in the group.

Cunningham included and introduced group directors from the district college, including Marcos Navarro of Helper Middle and Chris Livingston of Mount Harmon, both of whom also stressed the importance of joining the group.

At Wellington Elementary, after the introductions, Cunningham turned to his students and asked them what they wanted to start with. Almost unanimously, they replied “Rockin”. After which, they launched into an animated rendition of “Rockin’ on Top of the World”. Many students and adults “sit danced” or tapped their feet to the rhythm. The number featured two improvisational solos; one from saxophonist Lily Spendlove and another from trumpeter Jerry Anglesey.

At the end of the number, Cunningham took a moment to introduce the various instruments a student can choose from, asking various members of the jazz band to show off each individual instrument. They started with clarinet, played by Mattie Chiara, and flute, played by Lily Spendlove. Cunningham, Livingston and Navarro all expressed how crucial clarinet and flute players are in a band and encouraged students to start there if they have never played an instrument before. Cunningham went on to explain that clarinettists can learn most other wind instruments quickly, pointing out that Chiara just started playing alto saxophone this year.

After clarinet and flute, Cunningham presented the horn section of his orchestra with trombonist Jeremiah Ison and trumpeter Justus Clark. This is followed by an introduction to the rest of the woodwind section with alto saxophonist Garret Bryner and tenor saxophonist Adam Kemple. This concluded the traditional band instruments, after which Cunningham introduced his bass and electric guitarists, Rusty Seeley and Gradee Noyes, and Pierce Bryner on electric piano.

Cunningham concluded by introducing his most versatile players, the percussionists. He explained that most students who do percussion learn many different percussion instruments. He then introduces his students, Connor Bulkley and Brenden Bryner, who take turns playing drums and bongos.

A student from Wellington posed a question to the guitarists after the presentations: “Have you ever heard the song ‘Sweet Home Alabama’?” to which the jazz band spontaneously responded by launching into Lynyrd’s classic Skynyrd, much to everyone’s delight.

The jazz band concluded the mini-concert by performing “My Funny Valentine” with trumpeter Justus Clark. Soft jazz enveloped the audience and the room and brought the show to a calm close. The three group directors ended with a reminder to sign up for the group if they can and not let anything hold them back. They also described the resources available to participate in a group and assured students that if they wanted to do a group, the directors would make sure it happened.

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Henry R. Wright