At the beginning of the Belmont Hill school year, many members of the community were ecstatic to learn that all musical groups, including the Jazz Band, would be returning in person. Last year, the school’s musical groups could not meet in person due to safety concerns regarding wind instruments projecting respiratory droplets that can perpetuate the spread of COVID-19. For this reason, members of the Jazz Band were curious as to what precautions would be taken in order to ensure the safety of all participants. Mr. Fiori and the music department have taken a number of measures to address the concerns:
- All brass instruments have been provided with cloth bell covers to limit the spread of respiratory droplets while musicians are playing.
- When at all possible, the band will meet outside.
- When weather conditions and space availability limit the group’s ability to play outside, the group can play inside wearing specialized masks to limit the transmission of the virus through the nose.
With these precautions in place, many of the issues such as audio latency, which prevented the band from practicing as a group during online classes, have been mitigated. Furthermore, with its ability to rehearse in person, the Jazz Band has returned to a normal level of practice productivity. The group is currently working on two pieces, Jada, by Bob Carleton, and Tiger of San Pedro, by John Labera. Additionally, the group has happily accepted six new musicians to replace the two graduated seniors who left last year, five of whom are Form III students.
As of now, the proposed changes to the Jazz Band from last year have been instituted. Jazz Band currently meets during F-block, and participating in the group fulfills an art requirement. Thus, third formers who attend Jazz Band can receive school credit while practicing and performing. Through one-on-one assessments with Mr. Fiori, members of the band are given the opportunity to work through more challenging sections of pieces to improve the group’s collective proficiency. Looking to the future, the band hopes that students and faculty alike will come watch the Jazz Band perform, and the members are all eager to perform live once again.