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May 14, 2004

Music concerts satisfy cravings for Big Band sound

Guess we can relax a little, music fans. The concerts presented last week by the Middle School and Mid-High bands convinced eager audiences in the High School Auditorium that they are ready to continue the tradition of excellence already established by many years of victories in important venues. Jim Parham, band director, and his assistant, Sandra Kelly, put the well-trained musicians through their paces and tossed in a performance by the PHS Jazz Band as a fillip that should have satisfied all those who, like me, cannot hear enough of the "Big Band" sound. In modern parlance, that means swing and bluesy numbers by the modern musicians who do so well in emulating the dear, departed Big Bands of yesterday. The Jazz Band included a rendition of "In the Mood," one of the numbers most closely identified with the Glenn Miller band of several decades ago. Mr. Parham even said his youngsters get a great kick out of performing the tunes and styles of more than 60 years ago. As one of those who relish that style, I must say they sounded great on all kinds of music, but there will always be a large soft spot in my heart for the Miller tunes, along with many others from that period. Bless you, young music meisters, and may your interest in the old ways continue to grow.

The same youngsters, performing in traditional school band style, also did wonderfully well with the marches and other types of music usually associated with these concerts. All in all, it was an invigorating evening

Something I'd like to see and hear is some vocals by the young men and women, as soloists or ensembles. That's what the "real" big bands did to add a little excitement and interest to their concerts and I betcha the Jazz Band could find plenty of worthy vocalists if they looked hard enough. But congratulations to Mr. Parham and Miss Kelly for the quality of music demonstrated by these young men and women in their annual spring concerts and in the round of contests earlier this year. Professor Radgowsky and all the other previous PHS band directors would be proud of you.