All that jazz

CHS Jazz Band hosts free concert

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Members of the Cullman High School Jazz Band smile for the camera Tuesday night, Feb. 23, 2021. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – “With all that all of us have been through over the past few months- emotionally, physically, at work, at home, at school, schools not being in session, everything that everybody has dealt with and all the adjustments, changes and cancellations, masks and social distancing- we felt it was really, really important to play some music!” said Cullman High School Director of Bands Christopher Smith. That’s exactly what the Cullman High School Jazz Band did at a free concert Tuesday night.

Traditionally, the CHS Jazz Band entertains the community at its annual Big Band Dance, but this year, pulling off the popular dance was not possible. But as they say, “The show must go on.” The impressive ensemble of musicians, determined to play in front of an audience this year, opted for a live, socially distanced concert.

The group opened the night with Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” and after several other World War II favorites, it wowed the crowd with an hour of swing, traditional and modern jazz greats including “Misty,” “Take the A Train” and “I Watched Her Walk Away.”

Jazz band students faced multiple obstacles this year due to hybrid school schedules that limited opportunities to rehearse.

“We would normally rehearse four or five days a week,” said Smith. “During all this and all the things we have dealt with, the jazz band has only rehearsed two days a week since September. So, what’s happening on stage, these students have done with half the rehearsal time.”

To have enough room to rehearse while maintaining safe social distancing, the band found itself rehearsing in the school’s lunchroom.

Cullman High School Jazz Band members are:

Alto saxophone

  • Yukino Shichinohe
  • Allen Jiang

Baritone saxophone

  • Elijah Putman

Trumpet

  • BriAnn Payne
  • Makayla Phenicie
  • Bailey Grace Smith
  • Caden Hornsby
  • James Kelsey

Piano

  • Cannon Trimble

Bass guitar

  • Kyle Christensen

Tenor saxophone

  • Sara Reeves
  • Domenico Brunetti

Trombone

  • Lakelan Jenkins
  • Sam Adkins
  • Emily Gable
  • Zach Holmes

Guitar

  • Xander Canada
  • Isaiah Barnett

Percussion

  • Jacob Dye
  • Gabe Sosa

Vocalist

  • Madison Smith

After the concert, Smith said future performances are still a bit up in the air. “We are probably only going to be able to perform locally- outdoor events- if they decide to happen, and of course we will play at the spring concert, too. If there is a crowd, we’ll play for them.”

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Christy Perry

christy@cullmantribune.com