Staples and Bedford Jazz Bands Join For a Special Concert

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Photo taken by Caroline Rossi

Caroline Rossi, Web Features Editor

“It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing!”

The above quote of Duke Ellington was among the notes on the program of the Staples High School and Bedford Middle School jazz bands’ concert that took place this past Wednesday evening.

This concert was a special one, as it featured both middle school and high school music students and also marked the last concert for many graduating seniors.

“The jazz concert in June is an opportunity to highlight the Westport music program’s desire to study, learn and perform America’s unique art form—jazz,” said Staples Jazz Band conductor Nick Mariconda.

And that they did. Both jazz bands delivered an impressive selection of songs by composers ranging from Gershwin to Duke Ellington. The Staples band opened the concert with “Look for the Silver Lining,” followed by 6 more pieces that were split up by Bedford’s performance midway through.

“ I am always thrilled with the opportunity to have the Staples Jazz Band participate with the middle school’s jazz group in a joint concert,” said Mariconda. “I enjoy listening to what music is chosen by the middle schools to perform and I know the younger musicians are enjoying the various styles of big band music we perform. I feel that we learn from one another and at the same time inspire one another.”

The Bedford jazz band performed notable pieces such as “I Got Rhythm,” “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” and “Come Fly With Me.”

Throughout the night, many students were featured from both bands. An especially noteworthy soloist was Clay Singer ’13, who was not playing an instrument but instead providing vocals for the Staples band’s rendition of “It’s Only a Paper Moon” by Billy Rose, E.Y. Harburd, Harold Arlen, and arranged by Jerry Nowak.

“I was pleasantly surprised when I got to hear Clay sing with the jazz band,” said Alexandra Rappaport ’13, who came to the concert unaware that Singer would be a featured vocalist. “I think it’s great that Mr. M creates a program with such variety. I really enjoyed it.”

The concert was just as enjoyable for the band members, as well as a little bitter sweet, given that many seniors were playing with the group for the last time. However, the remaining musicians aren’t worried.

“There are people in every grade in the band that kill it, so I am not worried,” said Chris Copeland ’13. “Change breeds creativity, so having some new people in the band will be awesome for some new input.”