The End of the Year Blues Call for Jazz on the Lawn

By Jesse Perlmutter

After months of harsh cold weather, we finally had a beautiful warm day for the Byram Hills Jazz band to perform at Jazz on the Lawn. As the sun began to set, I plugged my guitar into the amp and began the sound check. The nervous chatter and excitement from the crowd echoed while each member tuned his or her instrument and warmed up. The lawn began to fill with students, waiting for the music to start. With a crash from the drums, blast from the trumpets, and a strum on my guitar, this annual show began.

After the first few songs, students and faculty were all tapping their feet and were immersed in the rhythm. With AP exams and regents, Jazz on the Lawn is the antidote to a stressful week. Students took a break from school work and enjoyed the outdoors. Our band performed, “In the Stone,” “Morocco,” “Cut to the Chase,” “A Song for You,” and “Another Zydobeto.” After performing at A lunch, a Byram Hills student came up to me and said, “It was so great to be outside with my friends and listening to music. I have always liked jazz music, so I’m glad it was incorporated into the school day.” This year we were lucky to have such nice weather because the last couple of years were known as Jazz in the Cafeteria! Ms. Weiss, the head of the Jazz Ensemble, said, “I thought it was really cool to be able to be outside during lunch and to provide music for the school. I loved listening to everyone who excelled with their solos, watching the expressions of the people watching us, and seeing how they get into the music.” This concert was also a showcase of the band’s achievements from the beginning of the year. Some of the solos were performed by Ethan Resnik, Mark Fakler, Isaac Fisher, and Stefan Dinkel.

Not as many people showed up as we had hoped for, and Paul Lestz, the drummer of our band said it best, “I think it could’ve been more encouraged to go to. We are so proud of our music and wanted more people to hear it.” Another concern by a band member was that most students were too far away from the concert. They said, “It would have been better if the concert was in the cafeteria so that more people would watch us. This way we would bring the show to them. A lot of kids stayed in the cafeteria, so it was hard for them to hear us so far away.”

Jazz on the lawn was the last jazz band performance of the year, which came as a sad realization for the group. Another member said, “The jazz ensemble is such a great group and I had such a great time playing music with all my friends. I’m sad that jazz band is done for the year, but I’m excited for next year.”

As I unplugged my amp and put away my guitar, I reflected on how the performance we gave was an incredible way to finish off the year. Personally, our band couldn’t have done it without the support and leadership of Ms. Weiss. We can’t wait until next fall to do it all again!