Posted By Mr. Spang

Whew!  As I sit at home on yet another snow day, I am reflecting on an amazing month of jazz at Folly Quarter!  I feel incredibly blessed to have such a vibrant jazz program at Folly Quarter, supported so strongly by our administration and our parent booster group, the Friends of Folly Quarter Musicians.

It's a scary thing to commit to a January performance with a middle school jazz ensemble, but both our jazz bands did a great job at the Jazz Reunion Concert at River Hill HS.  Thanks to Joe Fischer and Mike Blackman at RHHS for being incredible hosts (and the O'Brien family for procuring and feeding our kids all that pizza).  It was a great experience getting to work with Kyle Coughlin from Howard Community College, who was the guest artist and brought his quartet for a fantastic second half to the concert.  Dr. Coughlin came out and worked with our Gold Jazz Band, giving the band some great pointers, and then sitting in with the band and blowing through a great solo.  It's fantastic for the kids to hear live jazz up close with someone who's a master of the form.  I highly recommend you pick up on one of Dr. Coughlin's CDs.  Kyle Coughlin joined us for a solo on Charlie Parker's Yardbird Suite, conducted by our incredibly talented high school intern, Matt Wigler

Later that month, both bands traveled to Towson University for the Townson University Jazz Festival.  I think we were the only middle school to perform, much less have two bands.  We got great feedback from our clinicians and judges, and were simply blown away by guest artist, Bela Fleck and Dave Matthews Band saxophonist, Jeff Coffin.  I got the chance to speak to Jeff Coughlin after his incredible set with the Towson Faculty Jazz Quartet.  He was so very complimentary of our bands (he judged and commented on our Gold Jazz Band) and highly encouraging of what we are doing at FQMS.  I have to give an extra shout-out to the Blue Jazz Band for performing so great, even with our two rehearsals before the trip being canceled due to snow!  All of us had a fantastic 15 hour field trip and a great day of Jazz!

 
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