Band performance jazzes audience
The crowd wanted more, but there was no more to give.
At the end of the first-ever Lansing High School jazz band concert, about one-third of the audience gave the group a standing ovation, and others in the crowd yelled, "More!"
"We haven't played any more," band director Luke Johnson apologized.
The Screamin' Lions jazz band performed eight songs at its debut Tuesday at Lansing Intermediate School auditorium, including tunes by jazz legends Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie.
The concert was just a taste of what's to come for the LHS band. This year, jazz band is an extracurricular activity. Johnson said his students had been coming in at 6:45 a.m. three mornings a week since November to practice; lately, they've come in even more often.
Next year, however, jazz band will be a class. Johnson said students would have to audition, and numbers would be limited to about 18 players - five saxophones, five trombones, four trumpets, guitar, bass guitar, piano and drums.
Most of the students in the band were new to playing jazz, Johnson said, but he said he was encouraged by their willingness to learn.
"They definitely have a lot of initiative," he said, noting that the students had made posters to advertise the concert at school.
"They're all very motivated. If they weren't coming in, it wouldn't work."
The Screamin' Lions won't have to wait until the jazz class starts next year to play again - they will perform at the Pittsburg State University Jazz Festival in March, Johnson announced at the concert.
Rob Nicholas, Lansing school board member and former LHS band director, said a showcase jazz band was "long overdue." During his tenure as band director, from 2000 to 2004, Nicholas said there was a jazz band, but it was less active than the current one.
Nicholas said he was impressed with the show.
"They did an excellent job," he said. "The performance was full of excitement."
The concert not only raised awareness for the new band but also funds. Band members collected donations before and after the show; Johnson said the total collected before the show was $172.
The donations will help the band to purchase more equipment, such as music, a new drum set and a bass trombone, Johnson said.
The Screamin' Lions
Matt Fischer, alto saxophone
Gary Cotton, alto saxophone
Demarin Montgomery, tenor saxophone
Harrison Green, tenor saxophone
Matt Humphreys, bari-saxophone
Sean Wooley, trumpet
Josh Greene, trumpet
Alex Martinez, trumpet
Phillip Johnson, trumpet
Edwin Fluevog, trombone
Michael Hornick, trombone
Stephen Fischer, trombone
Natalie Jones, trombone
Lauren Judy, trombone
Brandon Rimmey, guitar
Cory Rosene, bass guitar
Guy Gardner, piano
Robert Hanson, drums