By JACOB CHRISTIAN – Every holiday season, IHS band director Jason Olear prepares holiday tunes with the Jazz I ensemble, and has the band perform them for all of the local elementary schools. This year, “Take-Around Jazz” took place on the 20 and 21 of December, and brought cheer to young students before the break.
During the performances, the Elementary students would be encouraged to participate in a multitude of ways. The children were asked to identify songs based on some minor melodic lines before it was played. Additionally, they were encouraged to sing and clap along with the band. The high school jazz group presented the “anything goes” atmosphere found in jazz bands, and students had the freedom to do some really interesting things musically. For example, the rhythm section decided on a whim to play their feature song, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” at a devilishly fast speed.
Anthony Bevevino, a senior at IHS, plays saxophone in the Jazz I band. When asked how the performances went this year, he said, “It went very well, and was one of our most efficient years. We performed very well and were responsible in helping each other out.”
“Take-around Jazz”, as it is called by band director Jason Olear, provides students an opportunity to show off their skills and gives them experience with live performance. In learning and performing tricky jazz tunes, it sharpens all of the students’ musical skills. Olear said, “They [the students] saw how important it is to do things like that ‘Take-Around Jazz’ does for the community. You could feel a buzz of excitement in the students and teachers. It was a good study in jazz style and sight reading skills.”
The program also provides a great experience for the elementary students, who love hearing their favorite holiday tunes played live. Junior Lily Boulard has participated in Take-Around Jazz since her freshman year. She expressed, “It’s a chaotic experience, but it’s worth it because you see happy looks on kids faces and all the teachers are really thankful for it.”
When asked whether it has an impact on the community, Olear said, “Yeah absolutely, we expanded it outward to St. Bernard’s in these recent years. I get emails asking for us to come again every year. It’s a staple for holiday plans.”
[Photo by Jason Olear]
Photo Caption: “The Indiana Jazz I rhythm section plays their part in a holiday concert for the students at St. Bernard’s.”
Jacob is a senior and a first year reporter for the High Arrow. He joined journalism to use as a creative outlet and as a way to challenge himself and improve his writing.