Blue Jay Band Spring Concert and Awards Ceremony Defied Gravity
The excitement was palpable as the crowd filled the auditorium for the Blue Jay Band’s annual Spring Concert and Awards Ceremony on Saturday, May 5. Band director Mr. Joe Caluda ’79 led the concert band and associate band director Mr. Jason Giaccone led the jazz band performances.
Family and friends of the Blue Jay Band settled into their seats as the stage lights shown red, white, and blue and the concert band started off the night with the familiar melody of the “Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key. After the patriotic tune was complete, the lights shifted to a deep shade of green and the band started playing Stephen Schwartz’s “Defying Gravity” from the musical Wicked. Accompanying the band were Garrin Mesa’s vocal talents which defied gravity as he rose above the stage, eliciting gasps and cheers from the surprised audience. The band finished out the performance with a Fiddler on the Roof Medley (arranged by John Moss), “Amazing Grace“ by Frank Ticheli, and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (arr. by Michael Brown).
It was an emotional moment when Mr. Caluda dedicated Frank Ticheli’s “Amazing Grace” to the seniors and their parents. A senior parent himself, this emotion carried through into his farewell speech to the graduating seniors as he sent them off with these words: “The greatest and most important thing we did together was to create music. Continue to make music a part of your life and never take it for granted. It is truly one of the greatest gifts that God has given each one of you. Continue to share it with the world.”
The seniors and their parents were invited to line up in front of the stage and one by one were given white roses and warm hugs from Mr. Caluda and Mr. Giaconne. The band recognized its graduating seniors: Leo John Arnett, Samuel Caluda, Parker Edwards, Anthony Kelly, Jordan Merritt, Garrin Mesa, Graeme Mjehovich, Brady Moran, Paul Myers Michael Plessala, Kyle Selle, and Christopher Vasquez.
Seniors Leo John Arnett and Brady Moran received the Rev. Elwood P. Hecker Award. The award is given to the bandsmen who best show dedication to music, honesty, understanding, dependability, and Blue Jay Spirit.
Blue Jay Father’s Mr. Doug Schof, Mr. Frank Nata, Mr. Keith Cavanagh, and Mr. Paul Fine were honored for their dedication to the band. The Band and Jayette Booster Organization was also thanked for their support.
The Blue Jay Jazz Band ended the night with pizazz, ushering forth performances of “A Foggy Day” (arr.by David Foster) and “Dream A Little Dream” (arr. by Shaun Evans) with the aide of Garrin Mesa’s smooth vocals, deemed to be Jesuit’s own ‘Michael Bublé.’ They also played “Harlem Nocturne” (arr. by Pete Blair) and ended the whole performance on a fun note with “Pick Up the Pieces” (arr.by Mark Taylor).