It was music to everyone’s ears.
After missing live performances for over a year, three area school jazz bands got a chance to play at what’s affectionately called Jazz at the Flats.
The High Point High School Jazz Band, Wallkill High School Jazz Band, and Vernon Township High School Jazz Express performed together on June 9 at Vernon Township High School. Originally scheduled to take place on the Vernon Flats, the weather only sporadically cooperated, causing the outdoor venue to frequently take place in the high school.
Regardless of location, school music programs and audiences look forward every year to the live jazz showcase, which had to skip a year because of the pandemic.
During the evening, the jazz bands played happy tunes featuring smooth sax, Latin beats, dancing keyboards, crisp trumpets, and punchy brass, all with clean, precise endings.
Max Taylor directs the Vernon Township High School Jazz Express, which features musicians in grades 9 through 12. He said many of the students are new to the band, and some learned secondary instruments just this year.
The Middle School Jazz Band and High School Jazz Express played on June 2.
Taylor said they felt fortunate to be able to rehearse during the pandemic, and were all excited to be back to performing live, especially inside.
The High Point Jazz Band and Jazz Ensemble includes freshmen through senior students. Director James Aslanian said that instead of preparing for normal competitions this year, they had spent the year working on their music.
“We are just happy that we were able to play,” Aslanian said. “It’s so nice to be back.”
Wallkill Valley Regional High School Band Director Jeff Colarusso said he loved Jazz at the Flats because it gives students a chance to hear other school jazz bands. Also, he said, it was a more relaxed atmosphere than their normal concert.
Colarusso said he was glad Mr. Taylor gave them a chance to come over and perform.
“It’s a fun night,” he said.