For the second year, New College Institute hosted the Martinsville High School (MHS) Jazz Band for a special holiday concert open to the community. This year, over 100 people were in attendance as the students filled NCI’s Martin-Lacy Lecture Hall with the sounds of the season.
The MHS Jazz Band, led by Mr. Brian Joyce, performed a selection of yuletide favorites including “Frosty the Snowman,” “Winter Wonderland,” and “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.”
Katie Gilbert, an eleventh grade student and trumpet player, said that she loved playing in this holiday concert last year and this year as well. “It really helps us get into the Christmas spirit, and we have had a lot of fun preparing for this concert.”
Kenya Hairston, a twelfth grade student and alto saxophone player, agreed. “We look forward to performing for larger crowds. And I particularly love playing jazz music. It’s my favorite style of music to play.”
During the second half of the performance, Joyce chose to share some standard jazz selections. One piece, titled “After Sunset” featured an alto saxophone solo by Devin Summers. This tune had a smooth jazz and rock ballad style and was mentioned as a favorite among the students.
The audience cheered for each performance and each soloist. For Robin Bescher, the concert was especially exciting as her son, Noah Snell, played the bass guitar. “I loved the concert, and I am so proud of the students. They have worked hard and it definitely shows.”
Beyond the music or performance, Bescher added that music has played a great role in motivating her son. “I have seen my son excel so much after discovering his passion for music,” she shared.
Steve Keyser, NCI Coordinator of Educational & Community Engagement, took the lead in organizing the holiday concert as a special session of the regularly scheduled non-credit lectures available at NCI.
“The holidays are a great time to come together to celebrate music and recognize the local talent of students in our community. The MHS Jazz Band always puts on a great show and we were honored to host this performance for the community here at NCI,” said Keyser.