Jazz Night – A Great Success!

Cullen McCarthy directs the Rockford High School Jazz Band – Picture by John Vancil

by John Vancil

The award-winning Rockford High School Jazz Bands hosted an amazing night of Jazz with Roger Ingram on Friday, March 22nd, at the Rockford High School. Jazz Band Number Two, an outstanding new band for Rockford this year, opened the evening, absolutely slaying their two songs and setting the tone for the music to come.  The RHS Jazz Band followed playing their festival set list plus one extra song.  By the reaction of the crowd, clearly the hit of the set was their version of God Bless the Child.

Thomas Tichelaar of Jazz Band Number 2 puts everything he has into a solo  – Picture by John Vancil

Next came a multi-song set with Mr. Roger Ingram.  As the Jazz Band laid down a compelling groove, Mr. Ingram showed all why he is known as one of the dominant Jazz lead trumpet players in the music industry today.  The highlight of this set for most seemed to be the theme from Beauty and the Beast.  Overheard in the hallway after the show, the RHS Jazz Band band only had the show music for the Ingram set three weeks and two practices before the show.  You never would have known it by their performance as they were tight, energetic and dynamic.

For Mr. Ingram has toured and recorded with some of the biggest names in the business including Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., Arturo Sandoval, Ray Charles, Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson, Tom Jones, Paul Anka, Louis Bellson, Quincy Jones, Frank Sinatra, Chico O’Farrill and The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Mr. Ingram’s busy schedule includes recording and playing live performances as well as teaching and presenting master classes throughout the world.  Known for his dynamic sound, solid upper register and driving sense of swing and versatility, his musical legacy is embodied by his respect and regard for artistic integrity.

Roger Ingram – Lead Trumpet performer.  Roger Ingram plays during the March 22 concert – picture by John Vancil

Directed by Mr. Evan Bahm, the Rockford High School Jazz Band Number Two is in its first year of performance at Rockford.  The band meets once a week after school to practice and has participated in multiple festivals and concerts this year.

Directed by Mr. Cullen McCarthy, the Rockford High School Jazz Band is a co-curricular band activity, meeting once a week outside of class times to practice, and playing festivals and competitions throughout the winter and spring.  In 2017 the band won the Michigan State University Essentially Ellington festival and in 2018 was invited to perform at the Detroit Jazz Festival over Labor Day Weekend.  The Detroit Jazz Festival is the largest free Jazz Festival in the world.

Roger Ingram – Lead Trumpet performer.  Roger Ingram performs with the Rockford High School Jazz Band – picture by John Vancil
John Gluth of the RHS Jazz Band playing a solo on the trombone – Picture by John Vancil
Evan Coberly delights his band mates with an inventive solo – picture by John Vancil