On May 18 and 19, Polo Park Middle School hosted its annual series of spring concerts. The Beginning Band and the Advanced Jazz Band performed on Wednesday evening, followed by the Intermediate Band and Advanced Band on Thursday evening. More than 300 parents, family members, teachers and administrators attended the concerts.
The Beginning Band performed selections that included “King Arthur’s Coronation March,” “Marching Band Blues,” “Dragon Slayer” and “Thunder Rock.”
“These students began playing their instruments just this year, and I think you’ll agree, they’ve made great progress,” Band Director Kevin Graham said.
After the Beginning Band, Polo Park’s eighth grade Advanced Jazz Band performed jazz selections from Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Duke Ellington. Each jazz selection included an improvisational performance by a student soloist.
Graham is proud of being able to teach middle school students to improvise. “I teach the kids pentatonic scales, which are pleasing to listen to, and the kids just improvise around those scales,” he explained. “What impresses me, though, is how much they love the music. Jazz Band is a club; kids get no school credit for being a part of it. The only incentive is the music.”
The concert series concluded on Thursday with performances by the Intermediate Band and the Advanced Band. Those performances included selections from “Can-Can,” “Soaring Dragons,” Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” and a medley of classic songs from the rock band Queen.
Both evening performances were a success. Polo Park Principal Ann Clark thanked everyone for attending.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have Mr. Graham teaching your children such wonderful music,” she said after the performances. “You couldn’t ask for a more dedicated teacher for them, and they clearly love him.”
ABOVE: Polo Park Middle School Jazz Band members.