HHS Jazz Band at Alexander’s Live, Chester

Mr S Edwards | |

‘A Summer Evening of Jazz’

Helsby High School Jazz Band, Alexander’s Live, Sunday 02 July 2017

The Helsby High School Jazz Band put on a fantastic display of talent at Alexander’s Live in Chester on Sunday 02 July, performing an outstanding concert entitled ‘A Summer Evening of Jazz’. From various Gershwin numbers, including the fabulous ‘Summertime’ sung beautifully by Jenny F, to classic Sinatra hits such as New York New York, all the performers did themselves proud.

The quality of our students’ musical abilities never ceases to impress – indeed astound – their audiences, and this event was no exception. Improvising a solo is never an easy task, but it was one from which Jess M, Max G, Isabella L and several others did not shy away. They tackled the chord changes easily with fluent melodies and impressive rhythms. Nathan B, Luke K and Isabel H each took a number of solos throughout the evening, showing off their years of experience as some of the longest-standing members of the band; challenging themselves to complex strings of notes as their fingers moved faster than the audience’s eyes and ears could follow.

The band as a whole showed off their versatility to maximum effect, covering repertoire from smooth swing numbers such as ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’, to fast-tempo all-round fun pieces like ‘Wizard Wheezes’. It wasn’t only the famous composers whose works were on display; the ensemble wowed the audience with two highly successful compositions by band members themselves.

It came as a fantastic surprise to everyone when four past members turned up, armed with their instruments. Tom T, Philippa S, Nick C and Matt K should have known better than to think Mrs Hunter would let them get away with joining in for just the finale, and of course soon found themselves playing for the full programme.

When the audience demanded an encore there was only one choice of piece; ending the annual event with a rousing rendition of Herbie Hancock’s ‘Watermelon Man’ has become a tradition, and this year’s finale went to new heights with fabulous solos from the various members of the band.

Mrs Healey, who played bass, commented that, ‘the atmosphere was informal and great fun, with a strong feeling from the audience of friends enjoying a great night out together’; whilst Nathan B – saxophonist and one of the Helsby Head Students’ team – said, ‘Alexander’s is a really cool venue and it was a great opportunity to perform in a professional set-up’.

The concert was a resounding success, and the students deserved the many, many kind words of praise they received for their hard work.

Mrs Hunter

Music Curriculum Leader and Jazz Band conductor