Volume 31



MS Jazz performs live in Saperstein

On Friday, Feb. 4, the middle school jazz band holds its first in-person concert in two years
Justine Gustman
Harvard-Westlake middle school jazz combo Blue Note poses for a photo at the performance on Friday, Feb. 4.

“What I love most about jazz is improvisation. Improvising, in my opinion, is the best way to convey emotion and feeling through music,” Manos Vourgourakis ’25 said.
On Friday, Feb. 4, the middle school jazz band held its first concert of the year — and the first in-person performance for the group in two years.
The jazz concert included pieces played by the whole band, as well as two different combos called the Blue Note and Jazz Explorers.
“I was most excited for the combo performances. All of the members of both combos have put in so much effort into this concert, and by the time of the concert, I couldn’t wait to see the final result,” said Vourgourakis.
During the songs, different players and sections of the band were highlighted.
“I was most nervous for the parts on my instrument that only my section had, this meant that we had to play them almost perfectly since the spotlight would be cast on us in those few moments,” Avery Kim ’25 said.
“Personally, my favorite piece to play is ‘Get Smart’. The version of it we are playing puts a nice swing twist on the original song, and it really works”, Vourgourakis said.
“Get Smart” is a piece by Irving Szathmary that was played by the entire band.
“It’s extremely hard to choose which out of all nine pieces I played was my favorite but if I had to choose then probably a tie between ‘In the Mood’ and ‘I Wanna Be Like You’,” Kim said.
There was a lot of practice and preparation that went into the jazz concert.
“The whole band was putting in a lot of effort in the weeks leading up to the concert, and I had rehearsals every day after school during the week of the concert”, Vourgourakis said.
The concert was directed by Starr Wayne, the middle school jazz band teacher.

“My favorite part about the concert was playing jazz with friends that I know well. All the different instruments fit together like pieces of a puzzle”, Kim said.
After the concert, during a reception, many people reflected on the band’s performance.
“Everyone in the jazz concert played very well,” audience member Everett Lakey ’25 said. “It was enjoyable to listen to, and I had a great time.”

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