On Friday, February 7th, the Morro Bay High School Jazz Band was under the lights of the Spanos Theater stage, at the Cal Poly Performing Arts Center, playing alongside the New York based Metta Quintet. This workshop and concert was just one of the many community supported benefits offered yearly.
This opportunity was offered by both Jazz Reach, and Cal Poly Arts. Jazz Reach, based in New York, is a not-for-profit educational organization devoted to the promotion, performance, and creation of jazz music. According to their website, jazzreach.org, they have served over 650,000 students across the country. The Metta Quintet from Brooklyn, New York, consists of drummer, Hans Schuman, pianist, Miki Yamanaka, Lucas Pino on tenor sax, Chris McBride on alto sax, and bassist, Chris Smith.
This workshop gives students of the band the opportunity to work on technical details presented in a piece and get advice from a professional musician. Senior Julia Richards describes how the workshop expanded her skills on alto sax and her general knowledge of music. She shares that the most valuable advice she received is to “make sure to sing your chart to help counting and melodies more accurately later on.” Overall, Richards describes this rewarding workshop as “A great experience for the whole band and I would like to experience another opportunity like this again.”
This hands on learning experience came with a unique challenge; the musicians had less than a month to prepare the four pieces of music. This put the band’s passion for music to the test as they worked hard to be performance-ready. The Metta Quintet often commented on how focused the Morro Bay Jazz Band was and how driven they were to succeed. Using the time in zero period, a three hour session on the Wednesday and Thursday leading up to the concert, and the rehearsal pre-concert on Friday, the performance ran smoothly thanks to the hard dedication to the program. The Morro Bay High Jazz Band would like to thank Cal Poly Arts and Jazz Reach to offer this chance to strengthen one of the many art programs offered on campus, making education at Morro Bay High School unique.