Musicians from local schools shine at All Town Jazz Night

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Hebron - posted Tue., May. 7, 2013
RHAM High School sax players perform at All Town Jazz Night on May 1. Photos by Melanie Savage.
RHAM High School sax players perform at All Town Jazz Night on May 1. Photos by Melanie Savage.

The year 2013 marks the third year in a row that the All Town Jazz Night has brought together students of all different ages to play together on the stage of RHAM High School. For the second time this year, students from Andover Elementary School joined students from Marlborough Elementary School, Hebron Elementary School, and RHAM Middle and High School for an evening of jazz on May 1. Each school performed its own series of selections. Then, all 155 students from five different schools took the stage at once for a combined performance of one piece.

“Planning for the event starts at the beginning of the school year,” said RHAM instrumental music teacher Nicholas Kokus, who handles the bulk of the planning for the event.  “We work together to choose a piece from one of the elementary school music libraries that will be appropriate and fun to do as a combined number.” Kokus said that the selection of the combined piece is left up to the elementary school teachers, “as they are more in touch with the technical abilities of the younger students.” Then, the bands begin preparing the music.

“As the date of the concert approaches, I gather program and roster information from all the other teachers,” said Kokus. “Then I can put together the program and figure out the stage set-up.” All 155 musicians “meet a few hours before the concert to figure out logistics and to rehearse the combined piece together,” said Kokus.

“The concert is a great way to bring the music departments from our three towns closer together.  It's great for students to see and look forward to what is coming at the next level.  It's also gratifying for older students to look back and see the programs that they were involved in as younger students.  All in all, it's a lot of work, but well worth it for the experience the students have,” said Kokus.

RHAM Middle School student Paul Tamburro, from Andover, found out during this year’s performance that he had been selected as best soloist for the Waterford Jazz Festival, which he had attended with his band the week before. Tamburro has played trombone since the fourth grade, when he began playing with the Andover Elementary School band. But, with a dad who is a professional trumpet player, “There’s always been brass music in my life,” he said. Tamburro felt that All Town Jazz Night provides a great experience for local student musicians. “I think it’s pretty cool because of the sound you can get,” he said.

Music teachers involved in the All Town Jazz Night on May 1 were: Sara Cathell-Williams (Andover Elementary), Stephanie Bancroft (Hebron Elementary), Bruce Foote (Marlborough Elementary), Kerrie Verrastro (RHAM Middle) and Nick Kokus (RHAM High).

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