Final jazz concert of school year brings trombonist Tom Garling to Rock Bridge

Faaris Khan

The annual spring jazz concert took place yesterday evening, in which guest trombonist Tom Garling put up a show with jazz students from Rock Bridge, Gentry Middle School, and Jefferson Middle School.
Freshman saxophone Reuel Braid was one of the students who participated in the concert yesterday. He felt honored to play alongside a professional musician like Tom Garling, and he is grateful that he was to receive a once-in-a-lifetime chance like this.
“A lot of schools don’t have these opportunities,” Braid said, “and it’s always interesting to get a learning experience with these professionals. They never cease to surprise us, and it’s always an enjoyable experience.”
Junior upright bass Mickey Jamieson said getting a chance to play with musicians such as Garling and Dr. White was a humbling experience.
“It’s just amazing to play next to people who are so experienced and so great at what they do, and you really learn a lot,” Jamieson said. “Even though we only got a couple days with them, it was a really great learning experience.”
Braid said the concert was a learning experience for not only the high school students, but also the younger middle school students performing, too. He said that the the middle school students had the biggest learning experience, since they are younger and are newer to jazz.
“It’s always a learning experience just playing with these jazz groups,” Braid said, “and it’s always good.”
Jamieson also said he enjoyed the concert. Having a chance to play with a professional musician like Garling was one of the most
“I felt great,” Jamieson said. “I always feel great when I get up on the stage and perform. It’s just a wonderful experience and a wonderful opportunity to do what I love. The whole band  just performed well as a whole, and it was overall just a great concert.”
Band director Steve Mathews said the students’ performance was exemplary. He said having Garling play alongside the bands might have increased their energy and inspiration.
“I think it’s also different that when you have people at the professional level that play,” Mathews said, “The band’s level goes up, too, because they’re really excited and it really inspires them.”
Tom Garling is a jazz trombonist who has played alongside greats like Buddy Rich and has several of his own jazz albums, such as “These Cats can Swing” and “Suite Tooth.” He toured with Rich and his band for most of 1986.
Having middle schoolers to participate in the concert was also a reason last night’s concert was memorable. Middle school students are less experienced than those in high school, and it was not only an inspirational experience for them, but also time well-spent for those watching.
“It was very good,” Mathews said. “I was very happy that we also had the middle schools come.”
Jamieson said that the concert was one of the best he has had the entire year. This being the last concert of the year, he said that everyone gave the best performance they possibly could to leave their marks.
“It’s always like the goal of the last concert to be kind of like the big finale of the year,” Jamieson said, “and I think that’s something that everybody keeps in mind. This is the last time we have the show, so everyone who let’s make it a good experience. Not to say that it’s not the goal of every concert, but it’s almost like since it’s the end of the year, it’s kind of wrapping everything up, and all the seniors are graduating. But it’s kind of like the thing that when you walk on the stage, you want to give it the best performance you possibly can, and it almost adds a little emphasis that it’s the last concert of the year.”
By Faaris Khan[vc_gallery type=”nivo” interval=”5″ images=”274676,274674,274669,274675,274672,274671,274668,274667,274666,274673,274670″ onclick=”link_image” custom_links_target=”_self” img_size=”full”]Photos by Kristine Cho