Martha Jones students perform in the fifth grade jazz band at the annual spring concert.
By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Westwood Public Schools’ band players have come a long way from solely playing “Hot Cross Buns.” The fourth and fifth graders from Downey School and Martha Jones School performed together for their spring band concert, exceeding the expectations of the audience.
Together, Downey and Martha Jones’ fourth grade students performed “Ode to Joy,” “We Will Rock You!” and “Shark Attack!” The children’s enthusiasm for band was clear, as the fourth graders turned to each other and grinned after each song, before shuffling through their music sheets to prepare for the next piece.
The students also impressed the audience, as the two schools perfectly joined together to play the songs, even though they had little rehearsal time as a large group. At the end of their performance, they quickly exited the stage and were seated in the back of the auditorium to watch the fifth graders perform and to wait for their special moment at the end of the concert.
Both Martha Jones School and Downey School have a fifth grade jazz band, and each band played two songs. The fifth graders, wearing matching shirts with the schools’ names on them, were able to showcase their abilities during solos during each of the songs.
First, the Martha Jones jazz players performed Miles Davis’ “Freddie Freeloader.” From the auditorium seats, parents and caregivers proudly recorded their children’s solos with their phones and cameras.
The Downey fifth grade jazz band, which featured a different variety of instruments compared to Martha Jones’ jazz band, performed Bill Sinegal’s “Second Line” and Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island,” the latter of which offered a tropical vibe.
The fifth grade band from both schools also played together. Their performance included a French folk song, “Gallant March,” “Rio Bravo,” and, of course, the Star Wars theme, which was excellently performed.
The concert concluded with a tradition that dates back to over a decade ago. The lights in the auditorium came up to a dim glow, and the fourth graders in the back stood up with their instruments. Together, the fourth and fifth graders performed “Let’s Go Band,” giving many audience members their first experience of a “musical sandwich.”
With exceptional musical talent from such young students, parents and caregivers were blown away with the concert.