Technically, I’ve never “played” in a band, unless you count the voice as an instrument; in which case we can count singing with the jazz band in high school. I was part of a small group of girls who, if you look in our yearbook, will find us listed as the Jazz Singers. Not particularly an original name but it was the Jazz Band after all.
I don’t think I could remember who those other girls were unless I dig out my “Legend” from 1981 and look it up. I sang with the group for 3 years, and each year there were a few more or few less girls depending on whether it fit into our class schedules; it was an elective. Our teacher for the class was also the conductor for the band, Mr. Garceau. Typically, he would choose the music, some of it contemporary and some more traditional. Popular at the time were songs by Chicago: Saturday in the Park, Wishing You Were Here, If You Leave Me Now. We sang many of them.
There is one piece of music that I always loved to hear the band play. If you’re even only remotely familiar with jazz music it won’t surprise you: Birdland. I loved watching the percussionist in the band go at it on the xylophone. To this day, when I hear it, I break out into a big smile and my head begins to bob up and down to the beat. It’s wonderful music. (Check out this performance of it by a high school jazz band on YouTube)
Today’s thanks goes out to Mr. Garceau and to the other girls who sang with the Jazz Singers at Toll Gate High School, the music still fills me up!