RBHS Jazz program entertains at A Sweet Night of Jazz


Photo by Morgan Berk

Emily Franke

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The jazz program put on a lively event Saturday evening to raise money for the band program. Complete with desserts, a silent auction and Mizzou Swing Dancers, the dance provided a show and an elegant atmosphere for those who attended and performed.

“Everyone dresses up and comes. There’s dancing and there’s people swing dancing and it’s super fun,” senior Hannah Cajandig said. “I’ve eaten really good food, and I’ve listened to music and I’ve talked with my friends … and I’ve done a little bit of learning how to swing dance.”

While the Mizzou Swing Dancers danced, Cajandig watched and tried to copy some of their moves. With an audience of parents, friends and some community members, it was the job of the musicians to entertain.

“We have our jazz program perform,” junior trombonist Matt Orf said. “So that includes the Jazz Ensemble and the Jazz Band … We also have our jazz combo perform.”

Orf said the band played a variety of tunes encompassing swing, Latin, funk and anything in between. In order to keep the show interesting for the dancers and those enjoying the music, each ensemble prepared a number of songs.

“For like the past month and a half we’ve been just pulling out a bunch of pieces and just running through them,” Orf said. “So Mr. Mathews just picks out a bunch of different songs, has us run through them and then usually we only go through them like once or twice before the performance just because we have to get like 15 or 20 pieces ready to play.”

While the large ensembles played more than a dozen pieces each, the Jazz Combo only played two. This smaller group of seven members featured “Stompin’ at the Savoy” by Benny Goodman and “Hurricane Season” by Trombone Shorty, senior trumpet player Daniel Shapiro said. In addition to preparation, students gained experience in using music to entertain.

Steve Mathews, band director, said this fundraiser, which the band boosters sponsored to help out with band expenses, is a great opportunity for “our students to experience preparing a lot of music for a dance kind of atmosphere.” This annual event included a silent auction comprised of baskets filled with anything from game tickets to one-night stays at nearby bed and breakfasts. Students who participated in last year’s event noticed improvements upon the previous year’s.

“[The auction is] really big this year,” Orf said. “I know that the band boosters really put in a lot of time and effort to try and get a lot of good items … I thought the decorations were fantastic this year it looks very nice out there. I appreciate it, they obviously put in a lot of hard work.”
By Emily Franke
Have you ever danced to swing?