Jazz band Spain Park host performance for Black History Month – Shelby County Reporter


VACUUM – Jazz music from legends like Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald filled the library at Spain Park High School on February 24 as the Shades of Blue Jazz Band performed in honor of Black History Month.

The group performed a variety of well-known songs, including “It Don’t Mean a Thing” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” with several tracks featuring student singers.

A limited number of guests were allowed inside the library to watch the show, which was also broadcast live via the school’s Facebook page.

“I was very happy with what the students were able to do,” said SPHS Group Director Chris Neugent. “It has been a year of challenges for everyone. For them, being able to put together a 30 minute concert of excellent big band music reflecting many different time periods and highlighting the influence and effects of African American conductors and composers on our country was great.

The song list included the following (student singers are also rated):

  • “Sing, sing, sing”
  • “That doesn’t mean a thing” – vocal solo by Chandler Young senior
  • “The Girl from Ipanema” – vocal solo from second year Maria Ritchey
  • “Horn”
  • “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” – vocal solo by junior Ross Cooley
  • ” Go for it “
  • “Monsieur le duke”

Neugent said the students had been working on the songs since school resumed after winter break, but the district’s staggered schedule until Jan. 19 meant students could only start rehearsing as a group of about two. weeks before the performance.

“It has been a challenge, but I was very proud of the students and the way they handled all the difficulties associated with the global pandemic,” said Neugent.

In a typical school year, the jazz group would have performed at various locations in the community nearly a dozen times already, but the pandemic has limited those opportunities, Neugent said.

“The students love to perform,” he said, adding that the band performs regularly at the Hoover Senior Center and local nursing homes. “We are always looking for opportunities to share American music, jazz, with the city of Hoover and its people.”

To keep up with Shades of Blue Jazz Band updates, visit Spainparkband.org.

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Henry R. Wright