Kicking Out the JamsTuesday, December 14, 2010 By Tyler Anderson
If you walk past the music rooms before school on any given morning, you might hear the sound of upbeat jazz music either being sung or played by instruments. It’s also possible that you could hear the rhythm of reggae music being played on steel drums; music that conjures up images of the beaches of Jamaica. Finally, you may hear the calming sound of an ensemble made almost exclusively out of flutes. For many students at CFHS, music education goes far beyond simply being in band or choir class during the school day. These students choose to take part in smaller extracurricular music ensembles, most of which rehearse before school. These groups include jazz band, stage band, steel drum band, flute choir, and two jazz choirs, one consisting of sixteen members and the other being an octet. Playing or singing in one of these groups is a time-consuming commitment. “One of the cons is the early mornings,” says Senior Matt Shorter, who is involved in jazz choir. “You have to start rehearsal at seven. It takes extra time to learn and memorize all of the music.” Students involved in extracurricular ensembles are able to work with genres of music such as jazz, pop, and rock, styles that rarely can be found in symphonic band or concert choir. These groups often perform very well-known songs; for example, the larger jazz choir is rehearsing Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel and the octet is practicing a rendition of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. The steel drum band’s set list is made up of arrangements of popular songs such as Stir It Up by Bob Marley, You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon, and This Love by Maroon 5. In addition being able learning different types of music, these students perform at a variety of venues outside of the large band and choir concerts. For example, both the jazz choir and band always perform at the annual community event Celebrity Night. Also, steel drum band has performed at CFHS’ invitational speech tournaments, the Education Foundation’s Night at the Winery in the past, and even opened for a school board meeting last year. As anyone who plays or sings in an extracurricular ensemble will tell you, being involved in one of these groups presents learning opportunities that go beyond those found in core music classes. “You learn how to read music better and better understand how rhythms correlate with each other,” Shorter said. “Also, being involved helps you to be more focused on your school studies and to be a more responsible person in general.” In addition to hearing their rehearsals as you walk by the music rooms in the morning, you might get to hear one of these groups performing in the future, whether it is at a concert or one of the other numerous venues in which they have made music. If you do hear them, you’ll hear how coming in before school at seven in the morning and putting extra time and energy into practicing this music pays off in the long run.