JAY - On Feb. 28, the Ausable Valley High School Jazz Band played to a packed house at the Amos and Julia Ward Theater in Jay.
The band performed sixteen different jazz pieces including themes from James Bond and the Blues Brothers. The strong sound of the band filled the theater as an enthusiastic crowed tapped their feet and swayed to the beat.
Much of the audience was surprised when Ms. Saulsgiver, the band's director, stated that there were no seniors in this year's band. The majority of the members are freshmen and eighth graders, but you would never know it to hear them. The band's youth is an advantage as the musicians will get even stronger as they practice and perform together over their high school careers.
AuSable Valley High School Jazz Band (Photo — Charles Potthast Jr.)
The performance was held, in part, as a benefit to raise funds for a band trip to New Orleans. The Jay Entertainment and Music Society hosted the affair and donated the theater space. Mad River Pizza, Young's Studio and Gallery, the Alpaca Shop, the Jay Craft Center and Gallery in the Glen, all local businesses, also made donations. Fresh baked goods were available during the show courtesy of friends and family.
"It was a great night of entertainment and all the students should be very proud of their musical accomplishments," one parent stated in passing.
Band members put in a lot of practice time during the year while also participating in sports, extracurricular activities, and managing their academics. At the end of the performance the band received a standing ovation from the audience, about 150 people strong.
Saulsgiver said, "The band is planning more performances in the future, including being invited to play at the Discover Jazz Festival in Burlington,Vermont this June."
The band members are:
Alto Saxophone: Emilie Kilburn, Sarah Edwards, Ashley Hart, Victoria Payette.
Tenor Saxophone: Lydia Russom, Caleb Hamilton, Zander Connor.
Baritone Saxophone: Hannah Lawrence, Craig Cumber.
Trumpet: Kendra Niemann, Kyle Hart, Ridall Kirchner, James Winch, Zachary Lawrence, Mark Saulsgiver.
Trombone/Euponium: Eric Potthast, Sky Hanf, Johnathan Freebern.
Bass: Joe LaClair.
Keyboard: Noura Moussa, Zachary Lawrence.
Percussion: Logan VonDell, Warren Daniels.