Held in the Black Box theater on Monday, Nov. 25 this year, Jazzapella was a big hit and provided a night of smooth jazz, fun tunes, and great memories for all those involved.
The small and intimate setting of the Black Box, inspired and modeled after a classic jazz nightclub, truly set the scene of hot jazz and cool vibes for the evening. Featuring performances from the Middle School Jazz Band, Upper School Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo led by Creative Arts Department Chair Todd Millen, Crimson 7 led by Director David Baker, and Oxfordians led by Director Steve Mitchell, both performers and audience members loved how easily they could connect with each other through the music.
“They made the performing area smaller to put tables in, where the audience was sitting, which let everyone see each other really easily and was really nice,” Oxfordian member sophomore Samhita Kashyap said. “It made everyone feel more interested and involved in the performances.”
Senior Maggie Eberle, also a talented Oxfordian, said she agreed. “The Black Box is a small space, but it was filled with people for the event and I feel everyone enjoyed themselves,” she said.
According to Mr. Millen, who organized the whole event, this was the plan. “The Black Box is more intimate than anywhere else on campus and it’s really great for the performers to interact with the audience directly,” he said. “That’s not an experience many young musicians get, even though that’s what it’s like in most nightclubs and spaces where jazz musicians typically play or sing.”
One pleasant surprise of the night was senior Emily Lemkuil’s performance of her parents’ wedding song, in honor of their 25th anniversary.
“I was alone on stage, besides Mr. Mitchell accompanying me on the piano. I introduced myself to the audience and when I started singing, my parents had gotten up from their seats and started dancing,” she said. “I loved that I could recreate this special moment for them.”
All groups ended up performing superbly. Senior Elan Stadelmann, who performed with both Jazz Combo and Crimson 7, said one of his favorite memories was when freshman Sattah Phouthakhoun sang alongside the Jazz Combo for a rendition of “Fly Me to the Moon” by Bart Howard. “Watching Sattah dance around and everyone have fun with it was my favorite part of the night,” he said.
Senior Matthew Marottolo, an integral part of Crimson 7, said he was proud of his group and had a great time. “As it was my last Jazzapella, it was both bittersweet and exciting at the same time,” he said. He continued that his favorite part was performing a capella with his peers.
“Just seeing all the alumni come back to support us was great, and Charlie Coxon even came up and sang with us, so it was just nice to connect,” Matt reflected.