Booming instruments, energizing musicians, and score after score of timeless music made KSC Jazz Ensemble: Portraits in Jazz an event of remembrance for players and attendees.
Directed by Don Baldini, artist in resident of music, the jazz ensemble played works from many jazz and big band music stars.
Everything from practice, to preparation, to accommodation for the concert has been in the works for a while, according to Baldini.
“[The group has been preparing for the concert for] the whole semester, but only one night a week. So, actually with spring break and everything, probably 12 rehearsals, which if you look at it that way it is not so many,” Baldini said.
The band was made up of saxophones, trombones, trumpets, and a majority of other instruments found in a jazz performance.
Along with the band, guest soloist Bob Ferrier play his semi-hollow guitar with the band providing excellent additions for songs.
He played with the band for two songs, “Cottontail” and “St. Thomas.”
Not all the songs performed for the concert were entirely instrumental.
Juniors Lindsey Ryder, Bailey Emerson, and freshman Amy St. Louis all provided vocals for songs.
Each singer had their own song to perform, Ryder preformed “That’s All,” Emerson performed “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,” St.Louis performed, “Fly Me to the Moon,” and the three singers all provided vocals for “Strighten Up and Fly Right.”
Ryder commented on her performance saying, “I’m very happy, I was very nervous so I don’t quite remember everything that happened, but I know there were no huge mistakes so I am happy about that.”
Emerson commented on being on stage saying, “You can’t see anybody, you can only see the first two rows so it feels like you’re there alone, it’s really nice.”
St. Louis commented on the band and performing with them saying, “I think I did a good job it was a lot of fun. I love singing with them, they’re so good to us.”
Director Baldini told the audience when St. Lousi auditioned he knew he wanted her to sing for the jazz concert.
St. Louis commented on her audition saying, “Well, I actually first auditioned with someone to watch over me and he didn’t look thrilled about it so then I sang ‘Autumn Leaves’ again and he really liked it.”
Several songs began and ended with mentions of musicians and past events that occurred in the making of the ensemble as a whole.
In the end, Baldini mentioned alumni and graduating seniors from KSC who were a part of the jazz ensemble and other music and art projects.
Senior George Weithman said this was his last concert at KSC.
He also said, “It’s going pretty well; a lot of nostalgia coming back from four years and having to say goodbye to people for the last time. It’s definetly a rush being on that stage.”
Among the mentions and salutes given there was also an award presented to a valued KSC alum.
KSC’s college music department presented the Outstanding Alumni Award to 1972 alum Andrew Soucy. James Chesebrough, assistant professor of music for KSC, gave the award to Soucy on stage during the first half of the concert.
Chesebrough commented on giving Soucy the award, “It was very humbling, Andy is someone who, when I first moved to N.H. in 1981, he was one of the first people I met on the state level. He has since that time proven to be a great musician, he’s a great administrator, and he leads the largest marching band in the state of N.H.”
Soucy has headed up many music projects and currently is the director of music for the Londonderry school district and works primarily at Londonderry High School.
“I am being honored tonight as an alum from KSC that has done a lot of work in the music education field. After all these years we’ve had a number of students come here, which we are very proud of. It’s just been an honor to be here tonight,” said Soucy, commenting on his awarding.
Soucy also commented on his own work in the music world saying, “In the jazz community, well I’m the director of bands. One of the primary things I do is I work mostly with marching bands and we have two jazz ensembles in our school, but over the years I’ve been a jazz director for some time, just not in recent years.”Soucy also said, “These kids [KSC Jazz ensemble performers] are terrific. These kids are awesome and I hope they have a great future in the music business.”
The ensemble gave several bows to the several minutes of well deserved applause given by audience members of the event.
The concert was creative and utilized several classic jazz techniques including playing a bass with a pair of drumsticks.
The concert also hosted paintings by artist Michael Reilly.
In the past he has had his works shown in the Carroll House Art Gallery at KSC and has displayed his works in other numerous galleries.
According to the program given out at the jazz ensemble, “Michael Reilly paints jazz- a passionate mix of colors and shapes from which emanates emotion and music.”
Ryan Loredo can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org