Polo Park Middle School recently hosted its annual series of spring concerts. The Beginning Band and Advanced Jazz Band performed 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 “Alpha Squadron,” “The Broken Marionette,” “Dragon Slayer” and “Star Wars.”
“These students began playing their instruments just this year, and I think you’ll agree they’ve made great progress,” band teacher Kevin Graham said.
After the Beginning Band, Polo Park’s Eighth Grade Jazz Band performed jazz selections from Chicago, Herbie Hancock and Louis Prima. Each jazz selection included an improvisational performance by a student soloist.
“I teach the kids pentatonic scales, which are pleasing to listen to, and the kids just improvise around those scales,” Graham said. “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 Advanced Band. These performances included selections from “Dance of the Thunderbolts,” “Jurassic Park,” “The Wizard of Oz” and a medley from the “Harry Potter” films. Based on the audience response, both evening performances were a success.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have Mr. Graham teaching your children such wonderful music,” Principal Ann Clark said. “You couldn’t ask for a more dedicated teacher for them, and they clearly love him.”