Planning to bring a taste of jazz and funk to the stage, the Alcoa High School Jazz Band will perform at this year’s annual April Foolies Charity Talent Show March 28. The group’s five-minute performance will include renditions of a Wild Cherry song along with a jazz standard composed by Billy Strayhorn that was the signature tune of the Duke Ellington orchestra.
For jazz band member and saxophone player Chapman Evans, the song choices will offer the audience both a taste of the familiar with “Play That Funky Music,” as well as a more difficult piece, “Take the ‘A’ Train,” from which the band can practice and grow.
Bryant Adler, director of bands for Alcoa City Schools, sees the chance to perform at the Clayton Center for The Arts as a welcome opportunity to showcase the talent that makes up his program.
“We represent the school along with the Tornadoes Friday nights a lot, and that’s probably the most visible part of our program,” Adler said. “It’s kind of cool to do the band program in kind of a different venue and kind of get some exposure.”
Currently in his 11th year of teaching band, Adler has seen both progress and commitment from the students who have walked through his door. With practices held after school hours, Adler feels the level of dedication from his students participation is reflective of their talent.
“Fifteen kids just doing an after school thing that they have to take their own time and come and do, I think that says a lot,” Adler said.
Active in the band program since middle school, Evans sees the jazz band as a place for committed musicians to gather and practice their art.
“Jazz band is more for the people interested in the music, not just there for the credit,” Evans said. “It provides a more in-depth musical experience.”
With completion of the new Alcoa High School expected later this year, Adler is confident that a bigger band room will lead to more musicians.
A huge proponent of music being taught in schools, Adler understands that the kind of expression and interdependence offered by band cannot be found in traditional classes.
“Any of the fine arts give our students a creative outlet that they can think and explore and learn in a different way than they do in their other courses,” Adler explained. “It’s really important that we have music in schools.”
Proceeds of the April Foolies Talent Show will benefit nonprofit organizations The Gate and New Hope-Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center to help individuals with special needs and child victims of abuse.