The community can enjoy vocal and instrumental jazz music when Gahanna Lincoln High School’s chorale and Jazz Band I collaborate for a free public concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4, in the school auditorium, 140 S. Hamilton Road.
“Our students are very enthusiastic about the opportunity to perform with a full jazz band,” said Jeremy Lahman, vocal-music director. “It’s an opportunity that some students never get the chance to be part of and an experience that they will never forget.”
The chorale features 28 singers from the 11th and 12th grades, typically singing musical theater, classic pop and jazz, Lahman said.
He said chorale members are musical ambassadors for the choral music department, performing around the community and at the elementary and middle schools in the Gahann-Jefferson school district.
“The jazz style requires different singing techniques and tone than we use for musical theater or pop, and it allows us to explore different styles of music than we are used to,” said Trinity Nhem, a senior.
“Singing jazz has provided us with a unique challenge and every day is exciting to explore more of our voice,” said Cami Weldon, a junior. “In the end, it will be totally worth it, and we’re more well-rounded musicians because of it.”
The group will perform such favorites as “Autumn Leaves,” “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” and, as recorded by Nat King Cole and written by Bobby Troup, the blues tune “Route 66.”
Kelly Shellhammer, director of the jazz band, said the concert would include performances by Jazz Band 1 and the chorale separately and combined. The school also has a second jazz band, she said.
“Our first collaboration was a great success, so we decided to join forces again,” Shellhammer said.
The 24 students in Jazz Band 1 are selected by audition and include seniors, juniors and sophomores.
“Jazz (Band) 1 will be performing some of the pieces they performed on Jan. 18 at the Purdue University Jazz Festival, a regional festival that hosted 100 groups,” Shellhammer said. “It was our first time traveling to a jazz festival out of state and it was a tremendous opportunity for our students to hear professional, college and other high school musicians.”
Both of the high school jazz bands as well as a student-led combo performed at the Purdue Festival.
The combo, called “The Cool Men,” includes members of both jazz bands.
The program it presented at Purdue included an original composition the group titled “The Fönky Chönky.”
The adjudicators of the combo were impressed by the group’s musical cohesiveness and the enjoyment the young musicians, as well as the audience, experienced as they performed, according to Shellhammer.
The combined jazz band and chorale will perform standard swing tunes such as Glenn Miller’s” Chattanooga Choo-Choo,” a version of the ballad “Here’s that Rainy Day,” and “I Can’t Believe that You’re in Love with Me.”
Jazz Band 1 will feature multiple soloists on a Latin-styled selection, “Red Hot,” and a funk piece, “Sneaky Pete.”
Senior pianist Emily Miller, drummer Isaiah Rowe, senior trumpet player Ephraim Baturin, and senior trombone player Blake Teegartin are all members of both Jazz Band 1 and chorale.
“We have a remarkable number of musically talented students at Lincoln High School,” Shellhammer said. “This is a unique opportunity to bring a small number of them together to present a performance of America’s music, jazz, for our community.”
Lahman said the chorale meets as a class each day and rehearses choreography on Monday evenings.
During the course of the year, he said, participants focus on class AA concert choir selections for Ohio Music Education Association district- and state-adjudicated events, and often do one large work combined with the school’s orchestra each year.
Lahman said the chorale students are excited to collaborate with the jazz band and embark on a journey that explores several decades of jazz.
“This is such a wonderful opportunity for our vocal music students to learn about a style of music that they may not have otherwise had the chance to explore,” he said. “Performances like this give students a chance to interact with jazz music in a way that is far more impactful than academic study.”
“Both the band and the choir have been working diligently these past two weeks to prepare for this performance,” said Ephraim Baturin, a senior. “I am incredibly proud of both groups, each exhibiting selfless dedication to the performing arts, and I’m so excited to show the final performance to the community.”