School jazz band celebrates in style

Jazz lovers danced away to the soothing sounds of the Stirling Jazz Band at its annual May Dance concert at Stirling High School hall on Friday evening.

HIGH NOTE:Stirling Jazz band performs at their annual May Dance concert that coincided with their 25th anniversary. Leading the band is saxophonist and the school’s music teacher, Alan Webster with daughter, Emily, on trombone Picture: MICHAEL PINYANA

The prestigious school jazz band which boasts an average age of 16, wowed young and old who cheered and danced to songs performed by the band. The occasion, now in its 22nd year, coincided with the band’s 25th birthday celebrations, which made the evening extra special.

The evening started off with performances from the primary, junior and intermediate bands before the high school band took the musicianship on offer to another level.

The crowd went wild when the school’s music teacher, Alan Webster, joined the crew on his saxophone alongside his daughter, Emily, on trombone.

Webster was also honoured throughout the night for his dedication to the band over the years and for encouraging youth to fall in love with the jazz genre.

Saxophonist Caitlyn Poole, 16, said she had left her former primary school because she wanted to be part of the Stirling Jazz Band.

The Grade 11 pupil said: “As a pupil at another school, the Stirling Jazz Band looked so cool and I changed schools just for the band.

EL percussionist got the beat down with upcoming show

“It has been exciting working with Mr Webster who has made us fall in love with jazz and we have killer sessions every time we perform as a band because of the passion he has instilled in us,” Poole said.

Trombonist Avante O’Reilly, 17, beamed when she spoke about her love for jazz. The matriculant said she couldn’t thank Webster enough for having introduced her to jazz.

“I get goose pumps every time we perform the Count Bubba classic. It’s my favourite part every time and the reaction from the audience makes it super special,” O’Reilly said.

Vocalist Casey van Heerden, who is also in Grade 12, said although she could sing from the time she could talk, she fell in love with singing when she joined the jazz band.

“All the other years, I was just singing because I had the voice and I could, but it’s only now that I am madly in love with singing and I want to pursue it further at varsity,” Van Heerden said.

Nonceba Mdinjwa of Bunkers Hill said she heard about the concert on social media and figured it would be an evening well spent.

“I have not been disappointed. I’m amazed at the level of professionalism among these kids and the passion they are playing with; they are astoundingly talented.”

Another jazz enthusiast, Brett Hoole, said he was fascinated with how the young and old were collectively having a good time.

“I’m excited to see such youngsters enjoying jazz and at their ability to entertain adults and how they have brought families and the community together tonight [Friday],” Hoole said. — mbalit@dispatch.co.za

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