Festival has them swingin' in park

May 09, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- Big band music filled City Park Saturday as area bands and choruses performed in the Peter Buys Band Shell during the annual Swingin' in the Park jazz festival.

This year's festival was the first time choruses joined the lineup of bands, said Gary Rupert, Smithsburg High School's band director and coordinator of the event.

David Adams, a Boonsboro High School sophomore, also planned to perform with North Hagerstown High School's jazz band Saturday. One of North's trombone players couldn't make it Saturday, so he was asked to step in, David said.

For David, jazz music is a "good way to relax" and allowed for more freedom and improvisation than typical concert music.


Some of his favorite music is by the Glenn Miller Orchestra because "it features a lot of trombone," he said.

The festival was held in conjunction with The Big Read since this year's book is the jazz-era novel "The Great Gatsby," Rupert said.

Between band and chorus performances, the Authentic Community Theater performed skits related to F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of "The Great Gatsby," and his wife, Zelda Fitzgerald.

"It's a great opportunity for the bands who are here because there are not a lot of outlets ... to have jazz be performed," said Scott Benford, band director at Hancock Middle-Senior High School. "It's an original American art form it's important to teach our students,"

Nate Lease, a North Hagerstown High School sophomore, plays the trombone in the school's jazz band.

Jazz is "a whole lot of joy," said Nate, who is in his second year with the jazz band.

Nate's favorite song is "When I'm Thinking About You" because it features him in a trombone solo, he said.

Drummer Bailey Kercheval, a Clear Spring High School senior, also picked a favorite that features him. His solo in "Drumming Man" garnered much applause Saturday afternoon.

Jazz is a way to express yourself, Bailey said.

"There are so many different types of jazz ... Jazz can get funky," he said. "I really like funky."

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