By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Northborough/Southborough – Melican Middle School and Trottier Middle School jazz ensembles joined bands from all over New England and beyond to compete at the annual University of New Hampshire (UNH) Jazz Festival March 9. Both bands performed in the middle school/junior high school division, showcasing three tunes each that featured soloists.
The Melican School band entertained audiences with powerful renditions of “Powder Blue” (a traditional up-tempo blues), “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” and “Groovin’ Hard” – the latter two are arrangements from the great Buddy Rich Big Band.
The Trottier School band performed “Dat?Dere” (by Bobby Timmons and arranged by Erik Morales), “Finding You Here” (by Erik Morales), and “Back to the Basement” (by Bret Zvacek).
Both bands received “outstanding performance” accolades. The groups are no strangers to success, though, as both have been acknowledged for the outstanding performance range and the honorable mention spot over the last three years at the UNH Jazz Festival.
“The band is always totally committed to whatever style they are playing,” said Jamie Clark, music director at Trottier. “They never play safely and the audience picks up on that. We are just thrilled to share this honor with our neighbors in Northborough. The kids work incredibly hard, and their love for big band and jazz tunes shine through in their performances.”
According to Clark, the Trottier musicians are fearless and work?tremendously. Most importantly, though, they find true joy in making music.
“The thing that pleases me the most about this group,” said Melican music coordinator Brent Ferguson, “is that they have taken the “team first” attitude to heart. They work hard on their individual parts, but realize that it's all for nothing if they don’t listen carefully while they play in order to make the many adjustments required to perform live music in a group. The students play with intensity, commitment, and probably most importantly, passion.”
Parents of the musicians know firsthand the hard work and dedication their children have made to the band. Deb Scaringi is one of these parents.
“It is remarkable to hear them play,” parent Deb Scaringi said. “From the first note, it is very clear these kids work hard. What is most amazing about these individuals, though, is how their love for music captures the audience and carries them away.”
Both bands will perform Thursday, May 16, at the Massachusetts Association of Jazz Educator's Festival, which will be held at Trottier.