The Jazz Program
Often seen at special school events such as Convocation and Pep Rally, the Upper School Jazz Band has provided the music for many school occasions throughout the years. With its beginnings in 2000, The Jazz Band was created from the pep band of prior years when a handful of students helped to support football and basketball games. While continuing to play at certain athletic contests, the Jazz Band grew every year into the highly focused and dedicated group of students that make up the group today.
Playing songs from Duke Ellington to Snarky Puppy, the Jazz Band has covered many styles and helped to introduce the students to the wide array of composers and musicians that have helped to make America’s original art form what it is today. The band was the result of Mr. Mike Boyd’s passion for jazz and Ms. Coulson’s vision to see the instrumental program expand after seeing the students’ enthusiasm for jazz and popular music. Since the inaugural year of 2000, the group has played at several different venues around the city and most recently at the VMFA for the “Art of Jazz Festival” in May of 2015. The band was highly praised for its musicianship and sound by a panel of jazz experts who commended the work of these very talented individuals. When Ms. Patricia Werrell decided to concentrate on the Lower School band program earlier this year, Mr. Bryan Hooten was hired to run the bands in the Middle and Upper School. This has meant a change in leadership for the Upper School Jazz Band as Mr. Boyd has stepped aside to allow Mr. Hooten to take the reigns of this very prestigious group. With a rich and diverse background in jazz, Mr. Hooten is set to take the Jazz Band into the next phase of its existence. With Mr. Boyd still assisting the Jazz Band, and Mr. Hooten bringing new ideas to the group, the future looks very bright for these fine musicians and what they will bring to the school.