Blue Jay Band Delights at Spring Concert and Awards Ceremony
An excited crowd filtered into the Jesuit auditorium for the Blue Jay Band’s annual Spring Concert and Awards Ceremony on Saturday, April 27. 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 were treated to a fiery start as the stage background flared up bright red and orange and the concert band started off the night with the boisterous assemble “Finale from the Firebird Suite” by Stravinsky. Their next performance stood out in stark contrast as the lights shifted to a deep watery blue and the band started playing Rachel Flower’s “At The End of The Day.“ This particular piece was special in that it was specifically commissioned to showcase the talents of senior Christopher Vuong on piano. A concert piece with a piano solo is hard to come by and was worth the trouble as Voung played beautifully along-side his fellow bandmates. The band finished out the performance with a “Canticles” by James Curnow, “A Disneyland Celebration” (arr. by Michael Brown)., and “Winds of Change” by Randall Standridge. The last two pieces struck an emotional chord with the crowd. Playing on screen behind the band were not only pictures from the Blue Jay Band and Jayettes experiences this last past year but childhood pictures of each band member and Jayette.
Halfway during the performance, 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. The band recognized its graduating seniors: William Bostick, Lucas Deane, Kyle Fulton, Clyde Leblanc, Matthew LoCoco, Jacob McCaffery, Cael Muiller, William Mentz, Matthew Nata, Christian Ordoyne, Jonathan Sanders, Dominic Schof, Joshua Shanks, Christopher Vuong, and Aidan Walker, and Ben Willis.
Seniors Jacob McCaffery and Dominic Schof 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.
The band’s executive board Mr. Frank Nata, Mr. Keith Cavanagh, Mr. Lou Richardson, and Mr. Paul Fine were honored for their dedication to the band. The Band and Jayette Booster Organization were also thanked for their support.
The Blue Jay Jazz Band ended the night with pizazz, ushering forth performances of “Saturday In The Park” (arr. by Paul Murtha), “Fly Me To The Moon” (arr. by Sammy Nestico), “You Got to Funkifize” by Tower Power, and “Hard To Handle” (arr. by John Wasson) with the aide of Joshua Shanks’s smooth vocals, deemed to be Jesuit’s own ‘Frank Sinatra.’ The Jazz band engaged the audience and had them chime in with vocals during their performance of “You Got to Funkifize” by Tower Power. Harkening back to the concert band’s first performance they ended the performance on a fiery note with “Aftershock” (arr. by Larry Barton).