Jazz band opens for Randy Napoleon and MSU jazz band members at town hall



Opening for Randy Napoleon and MSU jazz band members, jazz band captivates the audience with their performance. (Left to Right) Kaitelyn Walker, Joy Youngblood, Ben Chapman, Xyan Torrey along with the rest of the jazz band. Performing Blue Groove, which is more of a newer song that they learned and after school had help from the MSU jazz band members with improving their style in songs

While jazz band members open for Randy Napoleon and Michigan State University jazz band members, Napoleon and others prepared for playing for the rest of the night at the town hall on November 26 for free admission.

Napoleon brought his knowledge and skill an assistant professor at MSU teaching jazz guitar to the performance.

The MSU band and Napoleon met up with the jazz band after school that day for a rehearsal clinic where they will listen to Napoleon talk for a bit and then played a little bit for them followed by a dinner together.

Afterward, they packed up everything and head to the town hall to get ready to perform.

Prior to the event, Patty Pniewski, the jazz band teacher, thought, “What I would ask him to talk to us about is the style. That’s always a difficult thing to learn, but having someone like him who is actually a world renowned jazz musician come and talk to the kids, I think that’s gonna be cool.”

Following the event Pniewski’s wishes were granted.

“Randy and his quartet were awesome. They were nice and friendly with the kids and very complimentary, and overall it went great.”

She also thought her students performed well.

“I think they did a nice job, there was one song that they fell apart on, and we all knew that, but overall they did a really nice job.”

Clarinet players, junior Makenna Allison and sophomore Xyan Torrey anticipated the event, particularly their opening at the town hall.

“I’m actually really excited for it. We don’t really get a lot of chances to do things like that,” Allison said.

The event was envisioned by former community education director Jo Mayer who reached out to Dick Gordon, the president of the Arts Council of Stockbridge and Pniewski, asking them to participate in the event as a collaboration between all of the groups.

“I think the event turned out better than I could have imagined. Band director Pniewski and associate professor Napoleon worked together very well, as if they had been teaching together for many years instead of just meeting each other!” Mayer said. “The town hall looked so inviting too. I was proud to show off our students and town.”