Jazz band readies for loss of seniors

Austin Combs

“Jazz Under the Stars” and the spring band concert, held earlier this month, signified the end of the jazz band’s performances until next year when the underclassmen must step up to fill the holes left by the current seniors.

“We had a great run, and we usually do,” band teacher Carol Allen said. “This year we had a great mix of kids. I’m sad to see the seniors go. I always tear up a bit when I announce them at the spring concert, which was fantastic this year. This class means a lot to me because they came to West Shore the same year I did, so we kind of grew up together.”

Allen is not the only one who is sad to see the Class of 2012 graduate.

“I can’t believe it,” junior Ethan Miles said. “I’ve been with these seniors in jazz band since I was a freshman. I’m always sad to see each class go, especially the ones who I bond with in band. But this, this isn’t like the other classes for me. This graduation is really going to be a big one for us juniors because of all of our friends who are leaving.”

Senior Riley Audet appeared upbeat about moving on.

“We’re basically done,” he said. “And am I upset about leaving jazz band? Sure. I have a bunch of buddies in that class. But that is outweighed with the fact that this was a great year. I feel like jazz band played really well at all of our shows, despite the fact that we usually throw stuff together at the last minute. But hey, jazz is basically improv. We are doing it right.”

On April 13, when the band performed for the first “Jazz Under the Stars,” those in the audience seemed pleased with the show, and the funds that were raised reflected their approval.

“This is great, it’s really groovy,” one spectator said as he placed a twenty dollar bill into the donation bucket. “It really takes me back to when I saw people like George Benson play at the Holiday Inn in Winter Haven.”

The money earned from the show went to jazz band as well as the junior and senior class clubs, although the specific figure for how much went to jazz band is unknown.

“I have no clue how much we actually got,” Allen said. “I thought that it was worth a million bucks. I may be a bit biased though.”

The final show for jazz band, the spring concert, took place April 24 at Satellite High School. It also marked the last concert for each senior in band; a bittersweet experience.

“Dude, I don’t even want to talk about how well we did,” senior Ben Heuser said as he walked toward his car after the concert. “We sounded good and people seemed to enjoy it, but I just can’t believe I have no more West Shore band concerts. I’m excited, but also pretty depressed. But yeah, it went well.”

The parents of seniors shared Heuser’s feelings. Chris Ludeman, senior Alex Ludeman’s father, said that he has been supporting his son at each concert that he could and that he still couldn’t believe how fast time went by. The elder Ludeman also said the concert was a great finish to his son’s West Shore band career.

“Well, it’s over now, and there isn’t much more we can do about that,” Allen said. “The only thing that we can do is hope that the seniors have a good life and cheer on the band next year. We had an awesome year and the bar is set high, but I know that the jazz band will outdo it. They always do.”

By Nathaniel Curtis