The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Bean there, heard that, jazz band rocks the coffeehouse

Photo by Jonah Kantro
WCHS jazz band seniors line up for their last jazz coffeehouse performance. They look forward to their future and further exploring jazz in college.

The jazz band, while on the surface just another part of the WCHS band, is actually its own extension of the WCHS music department. The jazz ensemble does not perform in the traditional band concerts that students and parents are more aware of, instead, they host jazz coffeehouses. The coffee houses are more informal than the band concerts for many reasons including the spunky style and timing. The jazz band has been around for well over 13 years and has grown exponentially each year. They have also been hosting coffee houses each year but have grown in their efforts each year. 

Jazz band is different from regular band with regards to the style of music that we play, as well as the improvisatory nature of playing jazz,” WCHS band director Ariel Allal said. “It’s very rare for players in the traditional band to play notes other than what’s written on the page for them to play, but in jazz band, players have the opportunity to improvise and make up music as they go along”.

The WCHS jazz band performances, although less formal than traditional band ensemble performances, bring a relaxing atmosphere right to the WCHS cafeteria. The jazz ensemble gathers twice a year, once in December and once in April, where they transform the cafeteria into a coffeehouse to bring smooth jazz tunes to WCHS students and their families. 

“We perform at these coffeehouses twice a year and they are a more fun showcase opposed to the other bands performances,” WCHS senior Jonah Kanto said “There’s food, tables and it’s set up just like a regular coffee shop would be.” 

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These performances have improved and grown an outstanding amount especially considering many students who joined the band at the beginning of this school year were new to jazz and had not played this type of music before. The band performed at the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival and the Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival, where two WCHS students won outstanding soloist awards. 

“I hope to continue having our students grow as jazz musicians, and to continue our success at the MCPS jazz adjudication, the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival and the Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival,” Allal said.

Although many WCHS students have never played jazz music before, they are quick to pick up the concept of jazz music and performances. The WCHS jazz band has shown vast improvement between the first and second coffeehouses of the year.

“Music is a huge part of my life, jazz especially,” Kanto said, “I am excited to further explore jazz in college and expand my musical horizons.”

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About the Contributor
Isabel Vorabhanda
Isabel Vorabhanda, Promotions & Subscriptions Manager
Isabel Vorabhanda is a sophomore and the Subscriptions Manager of the Observer. This is her second year taking journalism. During her free time, she enjoys dancing, hanging out with friends, listening to music and baking.

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