The Evolution of Jazz at School Without Walls

Posted on: May 30th, 2012 by Jennifer Boulanger

For the last two years, the Jazz Band performed in “Big Band” style with melodies written out and a large number of musicians primarily drawn from the ranks of the Walls concert band. Over time, both the style and the musicians of the Jazz Band have changed. Many students were unable, or unwilling, to commit to the lunchtime and early morning practices (especially as participation in the Jazz Band does not fulfill an extracurricular credit). Each year, the Jazz Band became progressively smaller until, at the beginning of the 2011–2012 school year, the lack of rehearsal attendance forced us to disband.

However, at the request of several members of the old Jazz Band, the new Jazz Combo was formed under the direction of both Christopher Alberts and Math Teacher/Jazz Musician Corey Null. This new seven-person ensemble plays in an improvisational style, focusing on individual solos within the overall melody.
 
This year, we have performed at the School Without Walls’ Winter Concert and at several non-school functions, including a George Washington University Alumni Event at Ben’s Next Door and The Spirit of Black DC event held at the African American Civil War Museum. The Jazz Combo will next perform at the George Washington University’s graduation in the spring.

Keanu is a senior at The School Without Walls of Washington, DC. He has participated in the school Robotics Team (Captain), Jazz Band/Combo, National Honor Society (Vice-President), Student Government Association (Vice-President), and Boy’s Lacrosse team, as well as the Woodrow Wilson Swim Team (Captain). In the fall, Keanu will attend Columbia University as an incoming freshman to study English and Theater.