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High School Music Department Jazzes Up Holidays
A baritone tuba solo by Nick Nelson was featured during one of the concert pieces presented on Thursday, Dec. 12, by the Music Department at Riverbank High School. Titled a Winter Concert: A Jazzy Christmas, it featured traditional tunes performed in the Bruin Gym. The Advanced Band was augmented by a number of instruments not usually associated with such a group, including a drum set percussionist and electric guitar and bass players. Ric McGinnis/The News

The Riverbank High School Music Department celebrated the holiday season with its Winter Concert, the seventh annual event, this time with a ‘jazzy’ spin to it.

Featuring both Beginning Band and Advanced Band performances, the latter group included a number of instruments not usually associated with this kind of school concert.

RHS Band Leader Joey Aguilar welcomed the crowd, then the beginners kicked off the Thursday, Dec. 12 evening show with four numbers.


Beginning Band

‘Playing Around’ was arranged by John O’Reilly, then they played ‘Star Chase,’ by John Kinyon. ‘Up on a House Top’ was next, also arranged by O’Reilly, and they closed their segment with ‘Carol of the Bells,’ arranged by Larry Clark.

The beginners were augmented somewhat by members of the Advanced Band, which then took over the program.

It was in this portion of the program that things got a little jazzy.


Advanced Band

Instrumentalists normally expected to be seen in a school band concert were augmented by a number of non-traditional, non-concert players.

The more experienced group included an expanded percussion section, with students playing jingle bells, a drum set, bongos and conga drums, as well as mallet percussion, namely marimba and xylophone.

Also added were an electric piano, and electric guitar and bass. The guitar was played by Jeremy Clifton, who teaches music in the district at both California Avenue and Mesa Verde elementary schools. He played several solos through the evening.

Bass guitarist Vincent Genova had been switched over from bassoon, according to family in the stands. It, too, is a woodwind instrument also not usually found in a high school band.

The Advanced Band performed ‘Sleigh Ride,’ ‘You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,’ and ‘Santa Baby,’ all arranged by Mike Story. They then played ‘Hot Chocolate,’ arranged by Mike Lewis, finishing off with ‘Ye Jazzy Gentlemen,’ arranged by Peter Blair.

The Advanced Band was also assisted by Leader Joey Aguilar, who said it was a rare opportunity, for him, to play trombone. Usually he can be found playing a trumpet or flugelhorn.

Many of the band members wore holiday attire, including Santa hats or other decorative head gear. Many of their instruments were decked out with Christmas tree lights, possibly left over from the missed opportunity to march in the community’s annual Christmas Parade that was canceled his year because of bad weather.

As part of its Winter Concert: A Jazzy Christmas, the Riverbank High School Advanced Band also included a number of instruments not normally associated with band, including Xylophone and Marimba, as well as bongos and a drum set, instead of the usual concert snare drum. The seventh annual winter event was held on Thursday, Dec. 12, at the Bruin Gym, just a day before school let out for winter break. Ric McGinnis/The News