They’re jazzed about jazz at Coral Springs Middle School, where the jazz band of seventh and eighth graders already sounds like grizzled veterans from the French Quarter of New Orleans.
“Jazz is like, it’s all in the feeling, you can’t really learn it, you have to feel it,” explains trumpet player Keon Gooding. “It’s always fun to come to jazz, that’s what I look forward to every day.”
Director Luis Piccinelli has his Stallion Jazz Band playing like thoroughbreds. They’re only the second Broward School group to ever be invited to the prestigious Midwest Clinic in Chicago, a world-wide competition. It’s a significant achievement, certainly worth bragging about, and the band members know it.
“It’s amazing, we have tons of rehearsal, we work really, really hard, and it’s like a family at this point,” said saxophone player Angela Frantz.
They sound great, and it’s not by accident. The kids practice two hours before school every day.
“Not only is there the practice time when you work on the fundamentals, you work on your sound, on your notes and rhythms and things like that, taking the next step is listening to the masters, Coltrane, Ellington, and others and try to do what they do,” said band director Luis Piccinelli, who took over the music department eight years ago and turned it into a powerhouse program.
The principal, Ian Murray, says it’s vital to his educational mission to discover every student’s hidden talent and bring it out.
“Being a musician, being an artist, it’s just as important as a person that goes to math or science,” Murray explains.
But the principal is quick to brag about his iScience program. All the kids in science classes use iPads to interact with the smart board. At this school, though, they like to blow their own horns about the jazz band, and who can blame them?
“I believe they’re going to feel the impact that being in this band has on them in a few years, when they look back at this experience,” said Piccinelli.
Needless to say, they’re hitting all the right notes at Coral Springs Middle School. The school is seeking donations to help pay for the band’s trip to Chicago for the Midwest Clinic.
- Click here more information on how you can help the group at Coral Springs Middle School.