Jazzin’ from Dave Brubeck to Frank Zappa

WESTMINSTER, Vt.– Golden light danced off saxophones, trumpets, and trombones while jazz tunes blasted through the auditorium at the Kurn Hattin Jazz Invitational concert. Featured were ten performers and ensembles: the Kurn Hattin Select Jazz Ensemble, the Putney School Combo, the Putney School Trio, the Vermont Jazz Center Latin Jazz Band, the Alyssa Leonard Jazz Ensemble, the Northfield Mount Hermon Jazz Combo, The Dylan Chambers Jazz Ensemble, the Samirah Evans Jazz Ensemble, the Vermont Academy Jazz Ensemble, and the Keene Jazz Orchestra.

Kurn Hattin Home Jazz Band. Photo provided

Ten years in the running, the Jazz Invitational is always a smash hit, featuring students and professional musicians alike. Thanks go out to the outstanding musicians, staff, volunteers, and Bob Resek for sound design.

   “It was an exciting evening, from the very first note to the very last,” says Kurn Hattin Music Director Lisa Bianconi. “Our students were exposed to a night of music that they will never forget.”

The event was kicked off by composer and Master of Ceremonies Eugene Uman, Director of the Vermont Jazz Center. The evening program revealed a rich and diverse variety of musical selections including songs with scat vocals, Latin jazz, modern compositions, and bluesy classics. The night concluded with an exciting performance by the Keene Jazz Orchestra under the direction of saxophonist, Scott Mullett.

Kurn Hattin Jazz Invitational concert featured were ten performers and ensembles. Photo provided

Dynamic jazz and blues vocalist Samirah Evans gave the audience a treat with her sultry voice and soulful picks. The crowd sang along with her to “St. Louis Blues“ and she even featured a bit of impressive scat singing upon request of a Kurn Hattin student musician.

Admission to the concert was a canned good, which Kurn Hattin Homes donated to Bellows Falls food pantry, Our Place. The nonprofit home for children hosts the Jazz Invitational to promote high-quality and dedicated jazz music in both the school and the community. Steve Cady, Music Director at the Vermont Academy praised the Invitational’s goal, saying,

“Countless students gain an increased appreciation and an enthusiasm for jazz music, as well as a renewed motivation to improve their own skills in music.”

The whole night at Kurn Hattin Homes really felt like a trip to a professional jazz club. As Executive Director Steve Harrison put it, “We feel really blessed to have this level of talent and cooperation from area schools and professionals.”

A place of hope since 1894, Kurn Hattin Homes for Children provides a safe home and quality education for boys and girls, ages 5-15, whose families are experiencing a time of personal or financial need. Kurn Hattin Homes is almost entirely funded by private donations. For more information, visit www.kurnhattin.org.

Steve Cady & Samirah Evans. Photo provided

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