Taken Back in Time with the Jazz and Pop Concert


Courtesy of “LifeTouch” photographer

Lynbrook’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts hosted its annual Jazz and Pop Concert on Wednesday, March 22. The concert featured the LHS Chamber Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, and Show Choir, all of which contain dedicated and talented music students who spent months preparing to put on a spectacular performance. Director of the department Adrianna Schafer hosted the night and was extremely impressed with the success of the performers. “The talent on stage shone, and like always, the students brought an energy that excited the audience,” she said.

Junior Zachary Buxton, member of both the Jazz Ensemble and the Show Choir said, “The emotions of all performers were displayed clearly to the audience in a way that showed all the passion and hard work that was put into preparing for the concert. The night was a magical experience for all!”

The Chamber Orchestra, directed by Veronica Underhill, began the concert with four memorable numbers.

“Rhapsody in Blue,” “Merry Go Round of Life,” “Immigrant Song,” and a fan favorite, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” were played with violin, viola, cello, and bass sections. Talented soloists–Eric Reilly, a sophomore; Parker Sloan, a junior;  and Kate Chiulli, a senior–took the spotlight during this section, but every member contributed to the outstanding performance: “The chamber orchestra performed a very diverse and difficult program, which the entire audience truly enjoyed!” Schafer commented. 

Following the Chamber Orchestra was the Jazz Ensemble. Under the direction of Brian White, the ensemble resembled the layout of the Duke Ellington orchestra, with four trumpets, four trombones, five saxophones, and a rhythm section. “It’s a really classic standard jazz band, and they were awesome. The band really stepped up, and they had a great energy. We had a lot of fun on stage playing, and I think the audience could feel that,” White said, reflecting on the performance. 

Courtesy of “LifeTouch” photographer.

 The Jazz Combo was a unique twist to the set and featured Buxton on the trombone, Sloan on the alto saxophone, and Aurore Baptiste, a sophomore, on the trumpet. Not only did these three pull off impressive solos in the song “Manteca,” but their choreography was also entertaining to all and even ended with Buxton getting showered with glitter! Other songs played by the Jazz Ensemble were “Easy to Love,” “Take Five,” “Carnegie Blues,” and “Superstition.” “‘Carnegie Blues’ is a ballad, and oftentimes with young musicians, the slower tunes are more difficult for them to interpret, but I think they did an amazing job and learned a lot in the process,” White said. The 1946 classic “Route 66” was another favorite of the night, which starred guest vocalist Aubrie-Lynn Wilkonski, junior, whose rhythmic voice perfectly accompanied the ensemble. White was extremely impressed with Wilkonski’s performance: “Aubrie singing ‘Route 66’ with us was a highlight for both me and the band. She did a true, authentic jazz interpretation in the vein of Ella Fitzgerald.” 

White explained that one of the most unique aspects of the Jazz Ensemble is the improvisation of the soloists: “Jazz is all about improvisation and making things up in the spur of the moment. We spent a lot of rehearsals learning exactly how to make up music on the spot, so every solo the students performed, they did not know what they were going to play beforehand. They had practiced the theory rules to know what notes are allowed, and how you know when to start or when to stop, but then it’s interpretive based on how they feel that night when they’re on stage,” he explained. White’s favorite part of jazz is how it sounds a little different each time it is performed. 

Buxton explained how he learned to improvise his many solos: “The secret to jazz improvisation, as any good musician will tell you, is dining through your instrument,” he said. “This is exactly what Mr. White guides us in doing. The night’s musicians spoke through their instruments to convey a message to the audience, adding an aspect of audience-performer interaction that you don’t see with other types of music.” 

Finally, the Show Choir closed off the night with a unique production. With the theme “Music Through the Decades,” the choir sang and danced to popular songs dating all the way back to the 1950s and ending with the 2010s. Choreographed by senior Catie Wren, some fan favorites were “I Want You Back/ABC” by the Jackson 5 from the ‘70s, “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion from the ‘90s, and “Party in the

Courtesy of “LifeTouch” Photographer.

USA” by Miley Cyrus from the 2000s.  

Schafer remarked, “The ‘Music Through the Decades’ theme was a wonderfully creative way to travel through the evolution of pop music over time.  It allowed audience members of all ages to feel connected to the performance on some level.” The boys of the group transformed into a boy band, singing “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys. The number included solos from Buxton, sophomore Liam Mylan, senior Andrew Schiller, and senior Andy Romero and was a massive hit. The Show Choir was so popular among the audience that, by popular demand, it performed an encore, singing “Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’” from the Disney Channel classic Teen Beach Movie.

Buxton had a blast working with the Show Choir, not only performing in the concert, but also preparing in the months before: “The Show Choir was an amazing experience that I’m glad I got to be a part of. The many rehearsals leading up to the big night were a fun time, both working on the music and becoming closer with fellow students in a way that’s not always possible during in-class rehearsal,” he explained.

This year’s Jazz and Pop Concert was only the second Schaefer has hosted, and she is excited to see the talent that will come in future years: “Last year’s performance was truly special to me, as it was my first experience with this concert, but each year brings something new and exciting to the stage. I can’t wait to see what fresh and innovative ideas the teachers and students bring to future LHS Jazz and Pop Concerts!”