An Evening of Jazz: Upper school jazz musicians perform in winter concert

Upper school jazz musicians performed in the first jazz concert of the year Dec. 10 in Rugby Theater, showcasing their months of hard practice. The concert, which was originally scheduled for Dec. 8, was postponed due to the recent wildfires in the area and the school’s subsequent closing.

Upper school performing arts teacher Shawn Costantino directed the concert.

The concert featured 15 performances and 56 students, including students from all three upper school jazz classes: Jazz Ensemble, Studio Jazz Band, and Jazz Band.

Jazz Band trumpeter Ryan Wixen ’19 said he thought the concert successfully allowed the musicians to show off their hard work.

“We practiced really hard every day,” Wixen said. “We had recording sessions the week before, so we were really in tip-top shape for the concert.”

Performances ranged from the Studio Jazz Band’s rendition of the percussion-heavy “Cuban Overture,” composed by George Gershwin, to a Jazz Ensemble combo’s rendition of the soul-influenced “Red Clay,” performed by Freddie Hubbard.

Students also played “Monday Night October,” an original composition by Jazz Band pianist Charlie Kogen ’19, which had not been originally written in the program. Costantino announced the surprise performance during the concert.

Jazz Band trombonist Kevin Im ’19 said he enjoyed the concert and looks forward to future performances.

“It was my first jazz concert since I came to the Upper School, so that was a new experience,” Im said. “I think playing with the top jazz band was an exhilarating thing. It was a memorable experience that I hope I can repeat next year.”

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