ROCKLAND — Middle and high school music students received a special concert from members of the South Shore Jazz Collective last month as part of their studies.
On Monday, Nov. 19, the Jazz Collective performed three shows in the lecture hall for middle school band and chorus students, as well as high school general music students, faculty and staff.
The members of the Jazz Collective who visited Rockland students included Kenny Hadley on drums, Peter Kontrimis on bass and Mark White on guitar. Superintendent Dr. Alan Cron, on trombone, and Music Director John Piazza Jr., on trumpet, also made a guest appearance in the shows.
While Rockland has put on shows for students before, the jazz concert marked the first time middle school students got to experience a live band performance, and for many, the first time they’d been exposed to American jazz.
In an effort to enhance outside classroom learning, Rockland Public Schools worked with the Rockland Cultural Council to secure a grant to bring this one of a kind show to students. The RCC receives funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which distributes money to communities through the Local Cultural Council Program to support the arts.
“I’m so thankful to the MCC and LCC for funding these concerts,” Piazza Jr. said. “Opportunities like this give young musicians something tangible to work towards. Students need to know what they are going for. It’s not enough to tell them, we need to show them.”
Members of the Jazz Collective showcased their skills with a variety of songs, including several holiday favorites, like “Jingle Bells,” as well as Thelonious Monk’s “Blue Monk” and the “Flintstones” theme song — which is based off rhythm changes developed in American composer George Gershwin’s song, “I Got Rhythm.”
Prior to each jazz selection, Piazza Jr. spoke to students about the history of jazz and the unique improvisational aspect of the tunes they would be hearing.
“It was great to see that the things we learn in class are things real musicians always use,” said senior Jessica Dunphy.