Submitted Liliko Uchida
Improvised solos and groovy tunes serenaded the auditorium during the annual Jazz Night on February 27.
Every year, jazz bands and choruses from Northborough’s Melican Middle School and Southborough’s Trottier Middle School join high school students to put out an performance that showcases talent from the community.
Along with the students, a guest performer is always present. This year, students had the opportunity to learn and play with saxophonist Mark Zaleski. Zaleski, a native of Boylston, is a professional saxophonist as well as a professor at the Berklee College of Music. Zaleski and his brother, Glenn, are part of the Mark Zaleski Band.
“Part of [what makes Jazz Night special] is the excitement of having a guest artist, who can bring the insights from the professional world,” chorus teacher Kathrine Waters said.
Having a different guest artist every year allows for students to learn from a diverse pool of knowledge.
“The benefit of having a different guest artist every year is that you hear a perspective of people from different disciplines of music, backgrounds and experiences,” junior piano player Matt White said.
Because the concert only focuses on jazz music, the aura is more relaxing and modern compared to a traditional musical concert.
“What’s so awesome about this night is the atmosphere in the room of everyone having the same passion,” junior piano player Liliko Uchida said, “It brings me a lot of joy to be in a place where we all share the same goal of improving as musicians individually, while also being a part of a family that encourages each other to improve in skills like [improvisation].”
Unlike traditional concerts, at Jazz Night, musicians with different levels of skill come together for one concert, bringing a fresh dynamic.
“You can get 6th graders playing at the same concert as seniors,” junior trumpet player Will Donahue said. “It’s really nice to see the progression.”
Having the musical community coming together on this night brings happy memories from the past and excitement for the future for the musicians who participate.
“It’s really cool to hear the younger bands play songs I used to play when I was their age, and how, overall, things have changed or stayed the same,” Uchida said, “When I recognize songs from the middle school groups, it brings back good memories of rehearsals practicing those exact songs.”
“We [as teachers] get to see what [skills are] coming up, and the high schoolers get excited to see the young talent that they’ll get to meet in the coming years,” Waters said. “And the younger kids get to see the potential they can reach.”