Jazz ensembles perform

Saisha Kumar and Olivia So

Advanced Jazz Combo, Jazz Ensemble, Studio Jazz Band, Jazz Explorers and Jazz Band performed at the Winter Jazz Concert in Rugby Auditorium Dec. 2.

Rheanna Vradiy ’25 said she found the concert engaging and was impressed with the musicians and their talent.

“I admire people who play instruments seriously,” Vradiy said. “It’s so interesting to watch everyone and see how [the concert] comes together. There were so many groups, and every single group had really good songs. I really liked the finale and how [the performers] interacted with the audience.”

Alto Saxophone Player Hugh Cheng ’25 said the time he spent practicing paid off in the concert.

“The most rewarding part of the concert was hearing the results of our rehearsal come together,” Cheng said. “It was also inspiring to listen to what the other groups were working on.”

Jazz Band Teacher Chris Sullivan said one of the most gratifying parts of preparing for the performance was allowing his students to choose their pieces.

“I enjoy inviting the students into the repertoire selection,” Sullivan said. “I play music for them and see what they like. That is one of my favorite parts. We pick [songs] that we all like and then challenge ourselves, spend months working it out and then have it all pay off.”

Students received a number of songs to sight-read in the beginning of the school year and then chose to focus on four songs in the month preceeding the concert, according to Jazz Band trumpet player Carter Staggs ’23.

“[Dr. Sullivan] keeps the songs interesting and new to us instead of practicing over and over again,” Staggs said. “We’ll sight read a lot of songs and pick the ones we like the most and build our set that way. It’s a really fun experience.”

Trumpet Player Leo Craig ’24 said although the preparation for the performance was intensive, he enjoyed the process.

“My experience preparing was a lot of practicing, both in school with my band and with my combo and a lot outside of school [which was] just making sure that I could help out my band as best as I can by practicing the tunes,” Craig said. “I love playing Jazz in general, it is a fun thing to do, so it does not feel like homework at all.”

Craig said he found the experience of playing onstage with his band members incredibly rewarding.

“My favorite part was when our big band was playing. The energy was so high and everyone just loved jazz and was having a great time,” Craig said. “[The performance] was super informal and you just get to have a bunch of fun up there on stage.”

Sullivan said he was proud of every band member’s performance.

“Every group played their best that I’ve ever heard them all tonight,” Sullivan said. “That is rewarding, and they really rose to the occasion.”